The three essential S’s of giving and taking feedback.
Without doubt, the biggest challenge for any group writing fiction is how to meld your various creative styles and ideas into a single work. Non-fiction group writers have many templates they can lean on. All they need do is be clear and persuasive. We, on the other hand, must be entertaining, intriguing, evocative, shocking and much more. Creativity is a very subjective thing and it’s very difficult to define what ‘good’ is.
In "How To Write Fiction As A Group", we overcome some of the hurdles by setting parameters on style and clean prose, clearly delineating characters and having touchstone images. Following those guidelines means the suggested changes to your work and everyone else’s will be much reduced. So buying the book is a good investment in harmony (if we say so ourselves).
However, even sticking religiously to the house style, there will be times when you look at the work of a fellow group member and think it needs some work to come up to scratch.
When you are preparing to give feedback on someone else’s work, remember that sometime soon, you will be at the receiving end of that person’s critique. If you give thoughtful, useful feedback then you are likely to get the same from others.
The system we developed was based on the three Ss:
By sticking to these rules, you're not just pointing out a problem, you're offering a positive alternative, whether that is changing a single word or cutting a passage down. Then it's up to the group to decide which they prefer.
We'll flesh each of these three areas out more in the next few blogs.