"Everywhere I go, I'm asked if I think the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. "
- Flannery O'Connor
Last night I met with a sub-group of my local RWA - basically 4 of us who live within the same 20 square miles. And it was nice. We exchanged sample pages, talked about the sample pages we’d shared last month, enjoyed some coffee (and beautiful weather outside - almost 60 yesterday!), and watched the Borders customers browse.
(Interesting side note: at one point, a couple who looked to be in their late 30s sat down in a chair in the lounge/coffee shop area, near our table. The woman hopped onto the man’s lap and began gyrating and kissing him. It lasted all of 30 seconds or so, still, the 4 of us were sort of left with our mouths hanging open. Never know what you’ll see when you head to the mall…)
Still, I left the evening thinking, well, it sure is nice to have fellow writers to sit down with. To talk about the industry and contests and conference news with. To share writing struggles and frustrations. To bemoan rejection together.
It’s always a little frustrating for me when someone gives you a writing sample, asks for your feedback (which takes time), and then defends every comment or criticism you make. “Well, but that’s how I want the hero to behave.” “Well, I know people who talk that way.” “Well, many authors write from multiple characters’ POV.”
I sort of feel like, well, don’t ask if you’re not going to change anything or at least take suggestions under consideration. I like writers’ groups and critique partners for so many reasons. They are the reason my writing improved to publishable quality and the reason I picked myself up after so many rejections over the years. Still, occasionally, I’m reminded of why I go it alone as often as I share my work with others.
Anyone else ever experience frustration in working with other writers?