Writing Meetings

I attended my writer’s group this week. Usually my mother is there, too, but this time she didn’t make it because the weather kept her out of town an extra day.

These are wonderful tools for writers for many reasons. First, I get read something to the group and listen to their feedback. They started me on editing my latest project, the novel I finished last month with the working title Dreams. Second, I get to listen to all of their submissions and critique.

Listening to their writings requires a good ear. The first time I went, I was amazed how well they could do that. I’d never tried to offer opinions on something I’d heard aloud. I’d always been able to read the piece and then mark it up. Unfortunately, my brain still wants to mull things over and I often don’t catch things I might have if given more time. I have learned to add more to discussions and I’ve noticed it gets easier. I’m starting to hear things in my own pieces when I’m reading them, as well. It makes me understand why people tell you to read it aloud before sending it somewhere. I haven’t always done this, and I still struggle with reading aloud to myself at home.

I have learned it isn’t the same to stare at the writing on the paper and just say the words in your head. I think it’s something about actually speaking the words into the air and making your ear hear them. It’d be an interesting experiment to run if we had a way to see how the brain worked while doing both.

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2 Comments

  1. Jamie said,

    12 December 2008 at 08:31

    I try to read my dialog out loud, at the very least. Often when I am writing it. I had one very nice editor, who coincidentally rejected the story, told me I had an uncanny ear for dialog that he had rarely seen in an amateur writer.

  2. Crystalee said,

    12 December 2008 at 09:31

    Yes! I had a teacher (actually for my very first class in writing for children) who insisted that we read our stories aloud to each other and give immediate verbal feedback. It added a whole new dimension to the critiquing process. I still don’t feel great at the listening part, but I appreciate the method, because I know that picture books, and even some other kinds of children’s writing, are read aloud frequently and should therefore sound good aloud.


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