Monday, January 26, 2009

Over-Correction/Brute Force Isn't Working

Tonight I got another round of critiques from the CWC. This go was the whole thesis at once. The critiques didn't go so well. A few of the revisions I made worked, but more were over-corrections and others just made things worse. Not what I wanted to hear.

But, it also became clear that the harder I was pushing to make the thesis to conform to this brilliant idea I had about a family line, and the more I was pushing to unify the stories, the more it just wasn't working. Cool, huh?

What's the solution? Stop pushing so hard and let the thing be what it wants to be. It's unified in other ways, and those ways are enough. Also, I've got to go back to the stories and deal with each on its own for a while again - without worrying about how it's going to fit with the others. It comes down to a Zen type of thing - if I stop trying to force it into place, it'll fall into place easier.

It's funny. I've spent so much time and effort trying to fit it all together that I didn't realize I was jamming the wrong puzzle pieces together.

Time for a change of approach.


Debbie said...

I think you're close. I know when you have 4 or 5 other people telling you what didn't quite work or what just missed the mark for them, it's easy to think nothing worked and everything missed the mark. But nothing was way off base, and I think everyone had problems with the same few things.

Of course, we all offered different solutions--which can also be overwhelming. I think your solution makes the most sense: work on each story individually until it is what you want it to be. Once you do that, I'm betting it all fits back together quite nicely.

The One and Only John said...

Don't beat yourself up. I mean, really, only brutes are good at brute force. :)

If you intentionally try to unify the stories, you run the risk of writing something that looks like it's intentionally unified. Looking for an finding the unification on one's own is a main draw for reading fiction, don't make it too easy for the reader. Assume they can figure it out.

The One and Only John said...

...and ignore Juan.

But...not me in Spanish...rather, the guy who goes by Juan...of course me in Spanish is mi, but...well, you get the idea.