Thursday, January 14, 2010

On the Lighter Side: Kind of Missed the Point

I'm a member of It's a neat online writing community that allows members to submit an excerpt of their writing for review and critique. I don't post often. Just enough to maintain my membership and get some feedback on pieces of my work.

The majority of members are respectful and polite, and they give fairly good reviews (though I'm still trying to figure out the "dichotomy in the juxtaposition of the opulence" remark) but I was a bit surprised at a couple of comments I received on a recent submission. In one scene, my character woke up after spending the night in a sleeping bag in the back seat of her car. My critiquer got a kick out of my description and said it's clear we've shared similar experiences. Another critiquer seemed to love the police interview I wrote. She asked something along the lines of, "Are you a police officer, or are you married to one or watch a lot of crime shows?"

None of the above. I've never spent the night in the backseat of my car, nor do I know a police officer. (Sadly. I could use their input at times.) I hate watching television, so that rules out crime shows.

Their responses gave me the distinct impression these authors rely on their own history in their work. Certainly writers draw on their experiences, and even include some fact-based tidbits in novels for authenticity. But in the absence of those experiences, instead of avoiding situations not within a writer's realm, he or she should be ready to research the subject, or pull something from the sky. It's the very nature of fiction!

I hope my fellow critique buddies will allow their imaginations to go where they've yet to tread. It makes the story more three-dimensional.

So yes, it is okay to make something up when writing a novel.


Magicmomma said...

"dichotomy in the juxtaposition of the opulence"---Someone was obviously trying out all the new words they've learned from the dictionary or thesaurus they got from Santa Claus! hahaha!

Shew! Give me a break. shakes head. Kimberli, you're MUCH nicer than me.

Kimberli said...

His entire crit was like that. Clearly, he was trying to impress, but missed the point of communication--to communicate. And he was doing a poor job of communicating an huge error I'd made! I replied, asking him to clarify, and he did with a vengeance and a few of what Spock called colorful metaphors. Sad! But I fixed the mistake.

Nicer? Hmm, I don't know about that. The Holy Spirit stays fairly busy reminding me of a few choice verses :)