Friday, December 11, 2009

Critique Groups

It's finals week, and I have been so busy with writing 10,000 words of Three in four days studying. NaNo has built some pretty great habits in me, let me tell you. Also, I'M ABOUT TO GO SEE PRINCESS AND THE FROG. Like right now. Right after I finish this blog post. My friend was worried that we wouldn't get there soon enough and it would be full. And I was like, really? Firstly, it's a matinee on a school day. Secondly, only college-aged girls care anyway. We are the definitive Disney Princess generation. We rank our favorite Princesses. We watch the movies with ice cream when we are depressed. I mean, we have Disney Princess-themed dorm bathrooms. Come on now. Only we would be excited about a new one. SO EXCITED. Yeah. I know that Disney is crap sometimes when it comes out with stuff like G-Force*, but every once in a while, they do something that is basically flipping the bird to the world like: Shit, world, we still GOT it. This is one of those times. I know it.

Time to smuggle candy in our big ole bags and eat puppy chow in the theater. Once, we brought a jar of nutella and pretzels, dollar store cheetos, chips, pop, and Skittles**. We are THAT cheap.

Okay, critique groups. So I went to one that meets on campus. And here are things that I observed.

1) I am the youngest one there. I'm not that surprised, but aren't there any college people who write? Maybe? Maybe not? Okay, I'm just a freak, I guess. But they were all really nice. Very, very nice to me. I sat in and listened to people read stuff out loud and everyone else listened intently, took notes, and offered praise and criticism. Which leads me to my second point.

2) I suck at listening. The first story, I found myself continually wandering off oooo, look at the pretty pattern on the wall, wait what? and losing track of where the story was going. I had to pay serious attention and visualize the whole thing in my head. It also didn't help that, you know, I had missed previous chapters, but still. My listening skills blow. I do think that reading aloud is a great thing to do in a critique group. It's good for the reader to catch problems they don't see on the page and for listeners to...listen. Everyone likes a good storyteller.

3) I apparently missed the memo on writing styles. I do not write literary fiction. I LOVE reading literary fiction, but geez, I'm not good enough to write that kind of stuff. I write action-based plots, fast-moving dialogue - contemporary fiction. Everyone there writes literary fiction. Which is fine, really. I love hearing how the language paints pictures with slow brush strokes. It's soothing and beautiful. But this is not something I feel like I could bring my stuff to (I didn't; it was the first time I went, and I wasn't about to be like HEY THUR GUISE I KNOW YOU HAVEN'T SEEN ME BEFORE BUT LOOKIE LOOKIE AT MY STUFF) because the styles are so different. 

So I don't know if I will go back, but it was a great experience. Maybe one day, I will find a group that fits my needs. Until then, it's online for me.

I hope you guys have a great Friday - I have lost track of days since classes ended.

*I do not count Pixar as part of Disney, even though they are technically "one." Pixar, I always love. Pixar, I would have children with if it were a person.
**You know women carry big purses for a reason.


  1. AH I'M SO EXCITED ABOUT PRINCESS AND THE FROG TOO! I think I'm going to see it tonight, rain be damned.

    I'm mostly excited that Disney's FINALLY getting back to their old school, GORGEOUS hand-drawn animated movie musicals. They are so definitely DISNEY to me, and I love, love them. Plus, there's all the awesome production people attached to this, including some of the geniuses from Pixar. Aaaah! Have fun!

    (Also, thanks for sharing crit group experience. Listening to a story does take a lot of concentration.)

  2. I am going to see Princess and the Frog tonight and I am SOOO EXCITED! And it's not just college girls; it's high-schoolers too :) The younger generations (like my sister) are sad...children just aren't being raised on the Disney Classics anymore.
    I am an absolute Disney freak. Went to see Disney on Ice Wednesday and was on the edge of my seat, with my mouth hanging wide open the whole time.

  3. Wait, was G-Force the one with the gerbils? *shudders*

    I kind of want to see Princess and the Frog because it's set in NO, and because I appreciate that the entire movie was hand-drawn frame by frame just like they used to be.

    Shoot me an email-- it's in my profile-- if you want to be a part of a new online crit group, mostly YA spec, that some of us bloggers are thinking of starting. We'd love to have ya!

    Have fun at the movie!

  4. For the record, guys, Princess and the Frog is amazing, just like I thought it would be. Disney really outdid itself this time. And everyone should go see it. I might even see it again.

  5. Exactly! I walked out of the movie, singing and saying "Can we see it again?" :) I seriously CRIED! Three times! But then again, I'm a sap... anyways, I totally agree, Icy Roses, everyone should see it!

  6. I just got back from seeing it. It was amazing! I absolutely LOVED IT. It was soooo CLASSIC DISNEY. SO, SO GOOD!

  7. Omg, back AWAY from Pixar. I already proposed to them and they said "yes". We're going to have beautiful, apocalyptic, robot, clownfish, Parisian rat babies. OKAY? Okay. *intake of breath*

    I can't wait to see Princess and the Frog. And I hope you find a great critique group soon! Good luck with finals :D

  8. Yay! I'm not the only one who loves Disney! :D Especially Disney Princesses. Thank you for making my day!

    Haven't heard of Princess and the Frog but will keep an eye on it :) (I never know what the latest films are anymore).