Monday, June 27, 2011
GL, SyFy's SS, and Awesome Guest on Critiquing!
Swamp Shark – Entertainment Weekly gave it an F. Can’t imagine why. Oh wait, that’s because it SUCKED! At least Sharktopus was cheesy bad fun. I suffered through long enough to give you a short play-by-play this coming Friday. I better get some Hot Tamales for my effort…
Now to my awesome guest, Rusty Webb!
Rusty’s blog is The Blutonian Death Egg and he’s one of my amazing critique partners. The dude also has a great sense of humor. His critique comments are snarky, random, and sometimes go off on wild tangents – and fused with humor, they’re perfect! I couldn’t ask for a better critique partner.
I asked Rusty to share his thoughts on critiques…
Alex, the nicest guy on the internet, gave me the opportunity to talk for a few minutes about the art of critique. Funny that he would ask me, since the notes I sent to him after reading his most excellent sequel to CassaStar were rants about why I think Stargate ruined the SciFi (SyFy) channel and attempts to draw him into a debate about the physics of a fictional energy source. But ask me he did, and if there is anything I've learned in life, it’s to never turn down an opportunity, even if it’ll only serve to expose me as a fraud.
Once, earlier in my life, after much blood and pain, tears and heartache, I produced the greatest piece of written fiction the world had ever known. Still aglow with the glory of my achievement, I delivered it by hand to a friend to read and sat back to wait for the praise to come. They took a glance and said, “This is a mess.”
A piece of me died then. Right there, at that moment.
It wasn’t possible. I worked so hard, so long. How could they not see the brilliance? Did they even read it? Well, no. In fact, they said it was so bad they couldn’t get past the first page.
The first page? But the first page was awesome. Geez.
In the years since, I’ve managed to come to terms with the need for a critical eye – maybe not one so crushing as my first experience. But in the hands of someone you trust, someone who wants to help you make the story be the masterpiece you know it is, and not someone who wants to turn it into their story, or is venting because they’re frustrated by their own issues, then it doesn’t have to hurt so much.
Because here is the truth of it: Almost all the stories out there that any of us feel compelled to write are great, it’s just that sometimes the way we choose to tell the tale gets in the way. We emphasize the wrong parts, or forget to tell about why a character behaves the way he does. Writing is how we translate the story from the mind to the page – and sometimes it can lose something in the translation.
So here's to critiquing, the art of helping understand the human mind.
Rusty, if you understand Byron’s mind, you’re light years ahead of me.
Any questions? Comments? Snarking? Thoughts on SyFy Craptastic movies?