Wednesday, August 27, 2008

This Won't Hurt a Bit

Inspired by the word "naif" which is really just an alternate spelling of "naive", but will always conjure the image of an innocent waif-like child to me.

As opposed to naive, because grownups can be naive too, sometimes.
She should have known better than to get near that dog; the muzzle was there to protect kids like her, but she was “good with animals” and she never thought anything like this could happen.

As the doctor examined the wound, she looked up at him with doe-eyes. “First we’ll disinfect it, with iodine soap” he said clinically. “Then stitches.”

“Will it hurt?” she asked, voice high with pain and innocence.

“It might sting, but only a little.”

He soaked a rag in brown liquid, and rinsed the wound.

She screamed with the burning. She should not have believed him.
I found this in my aimless surfing today: . I now have to decide which of my novels I want to submit the first 7,500 words of. Or if I want to write something new. An interesting quandary.

Also; my story is up for critters this week! (Woo!)

I have a sort of open question. I've always tried to be nice about criticism. I was lucky enough/am lucky enough that I've never really gotten flamed for my writing. I've gotten basically positive comments with some pointers (the worst was "this is good but needs to be completely rewritten" which, I believe, was meant as a compliment), as far back as I can remember. Which is what I try to do for others. But I recently (only just) read a story for which I honestly cannot find something good to point out. What's worse is, going by what the author says about himself in bios and the like, he's has a very inflated view of his writing abilities. I want to critique it, because I received it to be critiqued, and don't want to just lay into this guy because then he'll just lash out at me and won't become a better writer.

But it got me to thinking; if someone reads my story this week, and can't find a single good thing to write about it, can't find anything that they like, what would I want them to do? Send me an e-mailed critique with feigned politeness telling me condescendingly that it's a good first try but I should rewrite the whole thing? Or just say nothing? Or really lay into me and tell me what they honestly think -- that my ideas are boring, my plot is redundant, and that I can't string two words together without creating an abomination against the English Language? And if I did get the last e-mail, and it wasn't vindictive or angry but simply told me, you need a lot of work, here are some suggestions of places to start, how would I react? Would I get defensive and lash out or would I clam up or what?

I'm used to writing communities that are full of twelve-year-olds writing in netspeak; in that community I know that I am one of the better writers. But am I really ready for a grown-up writing community? Am I ready to be compared to people who have been published, who actually know what they're doing? And how will I react if I don't measure up? I hope that I'm enough of an adult about all of it that I'll take it well; I can take rejection, the form-letter saying we're sorry but you didn't make the cut, but point-by-point criticism is harder to deal with.

We'll see. If I start whining like a high-schooler here about mean critics, well, feel free to knock some sense into me. Metaphorically speaking, of course.

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