Betsy Whitt

I read. I write. I think. I live.

Category: Critiques

I Can’t Think of a Clever Title

Maybe it’s because all my brainpower has been directed towards making progress through the drift of things that need to get done before I leave for the weekend.  Maybe all the other clever and semi-clever subject lines have all been flukes.  The world may never know.   

So far this week, I’ve edited three theology papers of various lengths, returned comments on the first 35 pages or so of a good friend’s manuscript, gone to the library, purchased 6 books (but I only get to keep one – the rest are gifts. sigh.), done laundry, and am thisclose to finishing the giant purple porcupine story. It’s losing momentum towards the end, and I’m still working out how to avoid that, though without much success. Fortunately, it’s being written for the express purpose of being critiqued, so maybe I’ll just wait and see if anyone else has any brilliant ideas for the ending.

I still need to make edits on the porcupine story, write two super-shorts for a writing club I’m in (darn end of month deadlines!), mail off an important check, clean the house (including vaccuuming the carpet and swiffering the kitchen), send off my choices for residency modules this January, do another load of laundry, pack for California and spend some time with Matt and Shiloh before I leave them for four days.

First, though, I’ve got envelopes to stuff here at work. The fun never stops. At least it’s only about 200 today. Maybe less.

Also, in Really Good News, I’ve finally harassed enough people at the office that we’re on the very cusp of having the licensing to play any music we want to in the lobby. Word on the street was that it might have been going to happen yesterday, but apparently it didn’t. I’m thinking about calling Greg every hour to check on it today, but that might be excessive. On the other hand, I’m really sick of these three cd’s.


I Enjoy Critiques

I really enjoy getting the emails from my critique partners and my mentor every month with their thoughts about my writing.  No really.  I do.  Maybe it’s because the SHU program is geared so that we encourage one another rather than poking holes in perfectly good balloons, but I get excited about constructive feedback from a reader.

That’s not to say that I always agree with everything, or that I don’t have my moments of outrage or feeling like a total failure because I thought I’d conveyed something clearly and it becomes apparent that no one got it.  But I derive great enjoyment from little comments about how someone likes this turn of phrase or thinks that detail was well placed. I find myself challenged to improve rather than being cowed into dejection by the notice of an awkward phrase or – and Scott will haunt me with this forever – flights of whimsy that slipped past my usually ruthless editing cursor, of which I believe “horse thrall” will always be the prime example.

I’m not a goal-oriented person, which seems odd for someone who’s working on publishing novels.  I’m not a competitive person most of the time. I’ve found that it actively detracts from my healthy state of mind – and when my competitive streak does kick in, you’d better watch our because I draw blood.  Yeah, not so good for mental stability. Heck, as long as we’re talking about what kind of person I’m not, we’ll establish that I’m not a people person either.  Oh I talk a good game but when it comes down to the wire my gut reaction to large crowds, especially containing people I don’t know, is to run away screaming.

I’m more of an “I can do better than my last effort” kind of person.  I work well alone, or in a small group of people who I’m confident will all pull their weight as I pull mine.  But oddly enough I don’t often motivate myself to do better, which is why SHU critique groups are so perfect for me.  They give me the little extra kick in the pants I need to keep moving through this novel, improving all the time.

I’m willing and eager to show myself up – as long as someone else can watch me do it.

So, how strange am I?


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