Monday, August 08, 2011

The Writing Week (Vol. 4) part 187 - Trust your Writers Group

It took a while, but I finally got the latest draft of my Medieval spec out to the rest of the League. We have a group meeting on Wednesday, and mine is one of two scripts we'll be reviewing and critiquing. I'm really curious to hear what they have to say about it - I was surprised by how much I liked it when I read through it last. Other than the page count (92), nothing glaring is sticking out at me so far. That, of course, can all change on Wednesday as we discuss it.

The meetings really are purely for the benefit of whoever has pages in them. Yes, they help everyone by strengthening their analytical muscles, but what I mean is that even if your work is torn apart and fatal flaws highlighted, the goal is to improve your material. Sometimes receiving feedback can be tough. Sometimes it can even feel like an attack (though this more in instances where a note is given in a less professional manner, or a writer doesn't know how to take the feedback). At the end of the day, though, one has to keep in mind that the objective is to improve the script at hand, and both the feedback and peoples' response to the pages are non-subtle clues as to what is working and what isn't. Also, provided you have a writers group that you trust, you should know that they want to like your script, want it to be better, and if they come at it aggressively or (though they shouldn't do this) poke fun at parts of it, they do so because they want to enjoy it more, and it's just not working for them yet. 

It takes a lot to build up the thick skin necessary to take notes. It also takes time and practice to learn how to give notes in a constructive, non-aggressive manner. The group members and I had 3.5 to 4 years of school together in which we did both the above. In the over 4 years since, we've further developed those skills. And, to be honest, even if we slip up now and then or deliver a note in a slightly derisive manner unintentionally, we've known one another long enough to appreciate the fact that there's no malice behind it. Like I mentioned, trust is the key factor - trust them to give you solid feedback (even if you don't take it), and trust them to have the best intentions for you script in mind.  Otherwise, why even send them the pages?