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View Full Version : How long do you workshop your stories before they're ready for submissions?



La Reine
07-22-2005, 03:38 AM
I find that workshopping my stories once (at an online group) is not enough for me. I usually have to workshop them, make corrections, wait a while, revise, then workshop again and repeat the cycle...

...what kind of advice do you have for workshopping stories?

Ronda
07-22-2005, 06:21 AM
I belong to a live critique group and an online one. I tend to show things once unless I make MAJOR changes in a story. With major changes I'll show the group the story or chapter for review. I don't generally need more than that. Occasionally, I've read a passage out loud that they've read/reviewed once to ask if the "improvements" are really improvements.

When I was first starting with the live group, I was really out of practice with writing, so I was more apt to bring something 2-3 times.

Just remember - the way I do it isn't necessarily what will work for you. There's no right or wrong. We all have a different process. Try not to compare yourself and decide on your merit based on how someone else does something. :D

Warmly,
Ronda

AprilBoo
07-22-2005, 08:14 PM
I usually workshop a story only once (if at all) - any more than that and I feel like I'm second-guessing rather than really revising. If there are any major problems, they come out in the first round.

Of course, everyone has to do it their own way. I use workshops sparingly because I don't want to fall into the habit of writing by committee, but I've never walked away without at least one or two useful comments. I also find that critiquing other people's stories makes me more aware of problems in my own writing, so to some degree it makes me less dependent on workshops.

Julie Worth
07-22-2005, 08:35 PM
I usually workshop a story only once (if at all) - any more than that and I feel like I'm second-guessing rather than really revising. If there are any major problems, they come out in the first round.

Of course, everyone has to do it their own way. I use workshops sparingly because I don't want to fall into the habit of writing by committee, but I've never walked away without at least one or two useful comments. I also find that critiquing other people's stories makes me more aware of problems in my own writing, so to some degree it makes me less dependent on workshops.

I agree. Critiquing is more useful than being critiqued. Those who can do it well are rare in critique groups, perhaps because most have passed on to the rarefied world of the published.

Jamesaritchie
07-22-2005, 09:38 PM
I hate the very idea of workshopping fiction. I've seen far more writers harmed by doing this than I've ever seen writers helped. Far more.

I know how to write a story, and I know how to write one considerably better than just about anyone in a workshop. And editors at magazines know a heck of a lot more about what they want and how they want it than anyone in a workshop.

Stories by committee can certainly sell, but I seldom see one that stands out above the ordinary, and when one does I think it's despite the workshop, rather than because of it.

Workshopping and critique groups are very modern notions. I don't think they're good ones, with the exception of beginning writers who simply need to learn format and mechanics.

AdamH
07-23-2005, 08:03 AM
Workshopping and critique groups are very modern notions. I don't think they're good ones, with the exception of beginning writers who simply need to learn format and mechanics.

I agree with this 100%. When I first started getting back into writing after countless years on hiatus, I workshopped almost everything I wrote. It was mostly to help me to get back into the swing of things again. After that I upgraded...or would it be downgraded?...myself to a writer's group of close friends, they provided me great insight. But around this time I stopped relying on peoples opinions on WRITING my story and more on people's opinions to GUIDING my story.
Now, I've gone beyond that and trust my skills but am open to suggestions from anyone who reads my stuff before it's polished.
I think it's a progression.
Now if you ask, how many drafts I go through before I'm satisfied? That answer is on average 4.

La Reine
07-23-2005, 11:30 PM
I agree with this 100%. When I first started getting back into writing after countless years on hiatus, I workshopped almost everything I wrote. It was mostly to help me to get back into the swing of things again. After that I upgraded...or would it be downgraded?...myself to a writer's group of close friends, they provided me great insight. But around this time I stopped relying on peoples opinions on WRITING my story and more on people's opinions to GUIDING my story.
Now, I've gone beyond that and trust my skills but am open to suggestions from anyone who reads my stuff before it's polished.
I think it's a progression.
Now if you ask, how many drafts I go through before I'm satisfied? That answer is on average 4.

Hi Maddwriter,

I also don't take everything people tell me about my stories, so I guess I'm at the GUIDING stage (following your guide), but I just wonder at what point I should stop letting people critique my work. Is it when I know the story front to back and am satisfied with where I want to take it?

Caty
07-26-2005, 08:50 PM
If it fits your target market and you are happy with it then follow your gut instinct and send it out. I was in a good writing group for a few weeks but felt that some of the critiqued stuff sounded formulaic, and you could see several people had a hand in it.

It was probably technically good but it lacked something.
Hey, dont listen to me though, we're in experienced company(blushes for having cheek to butt in), apart from one article I'm unpublished but I know what I like to read.