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gettingby
02-20-2015, 08:39 PM
I'm in school for writing so I get to workshop a lot. And I love workshopping not just my stories but also being a part of the discussion of other people's work. I'm in with a good group so it's a lot of fun.

But here's the thing. I might be going about it wrong when it comes to what I select from my own writing to workshop. I kind of feel like this is my opportunity to amuse and entertain my classmates. I still appreciate the feedback I get. And I know that even my best stories are not perfect, but I do know my strengths as a writer and try to showcase those. I rarely choose stories I don't feel confident about. The fews times I have caused a lot of anxiety, from the day I hand in until the day I actually get workshopped.

Right now I have a story that I am not so confident about. It's a little different than what usually works for me. It is ambitious, maybe even too much so. Do I workshop it? I know it needs more work, and I do feel a little stuck when it comes to knowing exactly what's not working and how to improve it. The biggest reason to workshop this is that two of my classmates came with me to do research for this piece, and we had to get up at 4 a.m. for it. They say they want to see the story, and I don't want them to think they wasted their time helping me. And although this is my best attempt with this story, it does not feel like I am putting my best foot forward to share this one with fellow writers.

All this has me wondering how other people approach workshops or SYW on here or using betas. Is it your best work that you seek feedback on? Or are you okay sharing work that you know needs work? Also, does anyone else experience anxiety after putting something out there to get feedback on?

Neegh
02-20-2015, 08:51 PM
You should be work-shoping those passages that you feel you are not hitting the mark on: stuff that isn't strong, or that you've work over so many times that you've lost your critical eye with.

auzerais
02-20-2015, 09:01 PM
I think it's best to workshop pieces that are troublesome. That's what needs help! And when I'm the one critting, I refer to hear work that needs a little help...for one thing, it's useful to me to see why someone's writing isn't working (there's a story on SYW right now that has been extremely useful to me in this way, even though it's not my work.) For another thing, I want to feel useful.

That said, I'll workshop a good piece if I need to be sure that it's good. A first chapter, for example. I can love it completely but that also makes me the first one to not notice that some major puzzle piece is missing.

Quickbread
02-20-2015, 09:40 PM
I also think you should workshop something that you know needs work -- but that you can't take any further on your own. Sometimes a piece just isn't ready to workshop because you haven't fully realized in your own mind what it's meant to be. But other times, feedback can be just the thing for helping you figure that out. Stepping outside your comfort zone might be one of those times it's helpful to hear what others think -- as long as it won't kill your confidence in making it what YOU want it to be once you get feedback. So the short answer is, it depends.

If the only reason you'd workshop it is for your friends who helped you, could you share it with them outside the workshop if you prefer not to share it with the whole group?

Jamesaritchie
02-20-2015, 10:36 PM
It's six of one, and half a dozen of the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to workshopping a piece that's giving you serious trouble. Sometimes you can gain insight that allow you to understand what you're doing wrong, and sometimes the varying opinion can turn a troublesome story into an impossible to do anything with story.

I tend to think it's better to workshop a story you have great confidence in because both possible results are pluses. 1. You'll find out you're right, that your story is, according to just about everyone in the work shop, excellent, which means you have a story that stands a good chance of selling somewhere. 2. You'll find out your opinion is dead wrong, and almost everyone can point out legitimate problems. Learning that your opinion, your ability to judge your own writing, is suspect can be a big plus.

cornflake
02-21-2015, 12:37 AM
I'm in school for writing so I get to workshop a lot. And I love workshopping not just my stories but also being a part of the discussion of other people's work. I'm in with a good group so it's a lot of fun.

But here's the thing. I might be going about it wrong when it comes to what I select from my own writing to workshop. I kind of feel like this is my opportunity to amuse and entertain my classmates. I still appreciate the feedback I get. And I know that even my best stories are not perfect, but I do know my strengths as a writer and try to showcase those. I rarely choose stories I don't feel confident about. The fews times I have caused a lot of anxiety, from the day I hand in until the day I actually get workshopped.

Right now I have a story that I am not so confident about. It's a little different than what usually works for me. It is ambitious, maybe even too much so. Do I workshop it? I know it needs more work, and I do feel a little stuck when it comes to knowing exactly what's not working and how to improve it. The biggest reason to workshop this is that two of my classmates came with me to do research for this piece, and we had to get up at 4 a.m. for it. They say they want to see the story, and I don't want them to think they wasted their time helping me. And although this is my best attempt with this story, it does not feel like I am putting my best foot forward to share this one with fellow writers.

All this has me wondering how other people approach workshops or SYW on here or using betas. Is it your best work that you seek feedback on? Or are you okay sharing work that you know needs work? Also, does anyone else experience anxiety after putting something out there to get feedback on?

The bolded is entirely not the point of the exercise, and I think you know it.

It's not a recital, in which you're meant to show off your skills, or a competition to present the best, most entertaining thing that needs the least work.

It's also not the same as beta reading. It's school. The point is to work on stuff that NEEDS work. Hopefully stuff you've worked on to a point and are having trouble with. If you're asking people for help outside the class so that you can then just go entertain the class with your best stuff, but those people are sharing stuff that needs work, I'd can see if they might feel that's not fair, or that you're perhaps being duplicitous.

gettingby
02-21-2015, 12:59 AM
The bolded is entirely not the point of the exercise, and I think you know it.

It's not a recital, in which you're meant to show off your skills, or a competition to present the best, most entertaining thing that needs the least work.

It's also not the same as beta reading. It's school. The point is to work on stuff that NEEDS work. Hopefully stuff you've worked on to a point and are having trouble with. If you're asking people for help outside the class so that you can then just go entertain the class with your best stuff, but those people are sharing stuff that needs work, I'd can see if they might feel that's not fair, or that you're perhaps being duplicitous.

Wow! That's a big statement you're throwing my way. I'm not doing anything wrong by workshopping my best stories or hoping my writing will entertain my classmates. If they like it, an editor might like it as well. And I'm sure I'm not the only writing student who posts questions about writing on here. To imply that I am somehow cheating or shouldn't be apart of AW if I am pursuing a writing degree, is unfair and hurtful.

Unimportant
02-21-2015, 01:05 AM
I kind of feel like this is my opportunity to amuse and entertain my classmates. I still appreciate the feedback I get. And I know that even my best stories are not perfect, but I do know my strengths as a writer and try to showcase those. I rarely choose stories I don't feel confident about.
It depends on why you are workshopping your stories, and who you are workshopping your stories to.

If you are doing it solely to entertain your colleagues, and they know it and know their is no expectation of them critiquing it, giving them fun stuff to entertain them is fine. If they think you are seriously expecting feedback when in fact you are not, it's not so fine because you are wasting their time.

Most people in a critique workshop are there for serious purposes. They won't see it as someone else's opportunity to entertain them. There are a zillion published stories out there they can read for entertainment.

So if you are submitting stories to get critical feedback for the purpose of improving your writing skills, then you are aware critiquers will find both positive and negative aspects of your stories (unless they are truly perfect). That is normal and expected. They are trying to help you, and you are trying to be helped (and vv). How you respond to having mistakes pointed out is up to you. You can see it as "Oh, I suck", or you can see it as "Whew, better that this person points it out rather than an editor who is sending a rejection letter because of my mistake" or "Woohoo, I just learnt something, and I can apply it to all my stories!" Or any combination of those.

Personally, I workshop stories for different reasons, so my stories vary. Sometimes it's a completed story, as good as I can make it, and I want people to point out problems I wasn't capable of spotting on my own so I can fix them before any editor sees them. Sometimes it's a WIP and I want to know something about a specific aspect of a character or plot point. But always, it's because I want honest feedback on something I can't judge for myself.

If I just want to entertain people, I don't workshop it to critiquers. I put it out there for the general readership.

gettingby
02-21-2015, 01:25 AM
It depends on why you are workshopping your stories, and who you are workshopping your stories to.

If you are doing it solely to entertain your colleagues, and they know it and know their is no expectation of them critiquing it, giving them fun stuff to entertain them is fine. If they think you are seriously expecting feedback when in fact you are not, it's not so fine because you are wasting their time.

Most people in a critique workshop are there for serious purposes. They won't see it as someone else's opportunity to entertain them. There are a zillion published stories out there they can read for entertainment.

So if you are submitting stories to get critical feedback for the purpose of improving your writing skills, then you are aware critiquers will find both positive and negative aspects of your stories (unless they are truly perfect). That is normal and expected. They are trying to help you, and you are trying to be helped (and vv). How you respond to having mistakes pointed out is up to you. You can see it as "Oh, I suck", or you can see it as "Whew, better that this person points it out rather than an editor who is sending a rejection letter because of my mistake" or "Woohoo, I just learnt something, and I can apply it to all my stories!" Or any combination of those.

Personally, I workshop stories for different reasons, so my stories vary. Sometimes it's a completed story, as good as I can make it, and I want people to point out problems I wasn't capable of spotting on my own so I can fix them before any editor sees them. Sometimes it's a WIP and I want to know something about a specific aspect of a character or plot point. But always, it's because I want honest feedback on something I can't judge for myself.

If I just want to entertain people, I don't workshop it to critiquers. I put it out there for the general readership.

Why would I not be expecting serious feedback? And how is workshopping my best work wasting anyone's time? If I had nothing to learn, I would not be in workshop to begin with. What I am trying to do is make my best better. I take my writing very seriously and I am in a very serious writing program. Just because I hope my writing entertains my classmates, doesn't mean I am not trying to be a serious writer or not taking my studies seriously. What's with these assumptions?

gettingby
02-21-2015, 01:27 AM
It's six of one, and half a dozen of the other. There are advantages and disadvantages to workshopping a piece that's giving you serious trouble. Sometimes you can gain insight that allow you to understand what you're doing wrong, and sometimes the varying opinion can turn a troublesome story into an impossible to do anything with story.

I tend to think it's better to workshop a story you have great confidence in because both possible results are pluses. 1. You'll find out you're right, that your story is, according to just about everyone in the work shop, excellent, which means you have a story that stands a good chance of selling somewhere. 2. You'll find out your opinion is dead wrong, and almost everyone can point out legitimate problems. Learning that your opinion, your ability to judge your own writing, is suspect can be a big plus.

Thanks for posting the positive side of workshopping stories you have confidence in and why I'm probably not the only one who has done this.

cornflake
02-21-2015, 01:33 AM
Wow! That's a big statement you're throwing my way. I'm not doing anything wrong by workshopping my best stories or hoping my writing will entertain my classmates. If they like it, an editor might like it as well. And I'm sure I'm not the only writing student who posts questions about writing on here. To imply that I am somehow cheating or shouldn't be apart of AW if I am pursuing a writing degree, is unfair and hurtful.

Whoa. Where did I imply you shouldn't be part of AW?? I have no idea where you got that at all.

It's a writing workshop at school; I'm implying - well, I was more saying but I don't think I was clear because you got the idea I was suggesting you shouldn't be asking questions here, which was not at all my intent - your fellow students, who have spent time outside of class working with you on a piece may feel you're not being fair if you use their help for it but then just use the whole class to basically show off your best work, hoping to entertain people. If everyone were doing that, that's one thing, but their comment makes it seem that's not the case.

Neegh
02-21-2015, 01:42 AM
Ego rushes will do nothing to help you gain real mastery of any craft, science or art form. That is why hoping to entertain your fellow students, or instructors can be counter-productive for you.

Better that your fellow students believe you a pain in the ass, with all your whining and nit-picking and walk away with the best education you could expect, and go on to become a great writer.

gettingby
02-21-2015, 01:54 AM
Whoa. Where did I imply you shouldn't be part of AW?? I have no idea where you got that at all.

It's a writing workshop at school; I'm implying - well, I was more saying but I don't think I was clear because you got the idea I was suggesting you shouldn't be asking questions here, which was not at all my intent - your fellow students, who have spent time outside of class working with you on a piece may feel you're not being fair if you use their help for it but then just use the whole class to basically show off your best work, hoping to entertain people. If everyone were doing that, that's one thing, but their comment makes it seem that's not the case.

When you said outside help, I thought you meant things like being on here. All my friends from school did outside of class was go to some place with me I thought would be cool to write about it. They haven't seen the story.

Unimportant
02-21-2015, 02:06 AM
Why would I not be expecting serious feedback? And how is workshopping my best work wasting anyone's time? If I had nothing to learn, I would not be in workshop to begin with. What I am trying to do is make my best better. I take my writing very seriously and I am in a very serious writing program. Just because I hope my writing entertains my classmates, doesn't mean I am not trying to be a serious writer or not taking my studies seriously. What's with these assumptions?
I think you didn't read what I said.

I said: If they think you are seriously expecting feedback when in fact you are not, it's not so fine because you are wasting their time.

So, obviously, if you ARE expecting feedback and not doing it solely to entertain your classmates without them being aware of that, then this particular "if" scenario does not apply.

And if multiple people here are 'misreading' your intentions, then perhaps it has to do with how you are wording your statements. None of us are in your head; we only know what you are doing and thinking based on what you write in your posts.

VeryBigBeard
02-21-2015, 03:12 AM
I tend to think what to workshop depends a lot on context. You have to know your group and how they critique, how they read, and how that's going to affect you and your piece.

OP, you said this group was a good-natured one and it seems like you get along with them, which is great, obviously. When you're in a writing group with friends of course there's an element of entertainment to it. Just like I'm entertained when I read good stories on SYW, a story you're more confident with can still be valuable to crit. Gauging how much people were entertained can be valuable, especially for figuring out how well a central plot or theme is working. Confident =/= closed-minded. That goes for being critiqued and, uh, offering crit to others, ya?

Critiquing a piece before it's ready and without confidence in it can also be really, really dangerous. I speak from experience here, sadly not with such a good-natured critique group. A bad experience can really impact motivation to continue writing and revise. I put a piece in before it was ready and I'm only just working through the fallout from that now... 2.5 years later. The crits have actually been semi-helpful four drafts later. At the time they confused me and derailed me from getting the story down. I shared way too early with a group that didn't have enough camaraderie to help people build stories collaboratively. That's fairly rare.

Yeah sure, I learned a tonne from that. I don't think of the experience entirely negatively. I also don't think it was positive learning. It's easy to justify an abusive or just generally not very helpful situation as learning when, really, it's not worth it.

If you have a good group, OP, treasure them. Because they're your friends, entertain them if you so desire. Learn from them whenever you feel you can.

kuwisdelu
02-21-2015, 05:57 AM
I tend to think it's better to workshop a story you have great confidence in because both possible results are pluses. 1. You'll find out you're right, that your story is, according to just about everyone in the work shop, excellent, which means you have a story that stands a good chance of selling somewhere. 2. You'll find out your opinion is dead wrong, and almost everyone can point out legitimate problems. Learning that your opinion, your ability to judge your own writing, is suspect can be a big plus.

Well this is weird. I'm not used to agreeing with JAR.

The benefits of workshopping that you know needs help are obvious — you get the help you need on it.

But I think you can sometimes learn more and grow more as a writer workshopping what you think are your best stories, the ones in which you are most confident. Because as you say, they still won't be perfect, and workshopping those stories can give you new insight into flaws in your writing that you couldn't see yourself.

However, if you consistently get very little criticism and those stories don't need much improvement even after getting them workshopped, then you should really take advantage of the workshop to get critiques of the stories that aren't working so well.

Edit: Also, this is probably something you should speak with your professors about, since they know your writing much better than we can.

Jamesaritchie
02-21-2015, 09:31 PM
Ego rushes will do nothing to help you gain real mastery of any craft, science or art form. That is why hoping to entertain your fellow students, or instructors can be counter-productive for you.

Better that your fellow students believe you a pain in the ass, with all your whining and nit-picking and walk away with the best education you could expect, and go on to become a great writer.

A bunch of people in this thread definitely went to very different universities than the ones I attended. Workshopping a story that entertains, amuses, fascinates those who read it has nothing whatsoever to do with ego.

Submitting pieces that entertain, that amuse, and please in as many ways as possible is what writing is all about. Doing this is the only way to know whether you have any mastery of writing fiction.

Anyone can workshop a story that has all sorts of problems, that just isn't anywhere near top level, and most do. They do not, however, submit these stories because they think it will help them gain mastery, they submit such stories because they can't write stories that are better, stories that do entertain, amuse, fascinate, etc. And very darned few of them ever learn how to writer any better.

It's fine to workshop a story that has a problem, a specific problem, or some little something wrong that you can't quite understand, but unless this story is good enough to entertain, to amuse, to please in some serious way despite the perceived flaw, chances are extremely high workshopping it won't help, and it never will be worth a darn.

Good writers who write good stories that entertain and amuse, that are just one step below professional level, can be helped. Bad writers who write bad stories that do not entertain, amuse, etc., are almost always beyond help. Even in a college environment, not everyone has the talent to be a good writer.

In a very real way, writers with talent have little choice except to workshop stories that are pretty good, that entertain, amuse, etc., as they are. It's not about ego, it's about having talent, being good, and writing stories that do what stories are supposed to do.

Now, I was widely published, even before I started college, but so were several others. Most of those who weren't yet published were nevertheless pretty darned good writers. We all submitted the best stories we could possibly write. When a story had problems, any kind of problems, it was never because we left something better back in our rooms, it was because we didn't have anything better to workshop.

Those who didn't submit pretty darned good stuff consistently didn't go on to master fiction, they almost always dropped out before the semester was over.

Maybe it was just the professors I had, but the goal was to write stories that were as good as we could possibly make them, then workshop them, and then submit them. Even teh good stories, the best ones we could possibly write, received criticism. It was a rare, rare story that everyone agreed was ready for submission, but this was always our goal.

Too, we were graded for those classes, and part of the grade was determined by the workshop stories, and by how well we learned, what we learned, and when we learned it. The goal was never ego, it was excellence because only excellence kept up progressing up through higher and high level writing classes.

We weren't in it for one semester, or one year, or, often, even for four years. Quality counted, and quality was determined by how well the story was written, which means how much it entertained, amused, etc., those who read it, including the prof, and those in the workshop. Grades mattered, and we didn't get good grades by writing bad stories.

I did take one extracurricular writing class because it was run by a professor who had sold a couple of very good books, but that was a very different environment. The students there were curious about writing, thought it was something they might like to try, or took the class because it looked good on their record, but none were serious writers in the sense that those who majored in some form of writing were, and I quickly found I could learn nothing there.

Anyway, I also majored in journalism, and my experience there was exactly the same. Quality mattered, lack of quality was unacceptable, and brought low grades. We workshopped stories there, too, but if we didn't turn in our best work, and work that at least gave us a passing grade, we were in deep trouble.

Kylabelle
02-21-2015, 11:28 PM
Excellent post. Like kuwi, I find myself a little surprised to be in agreement with JAR. I could get to like it. :D

CrastersBabies
02-21-2015, 11:56 PM
It's great to get good feedback from your workshop, but if you are only giving them stories to entertain them, you're not going to get the best out of Workshop, imho. I went through undergrad and an MFA and all the good/bad that comes along with that.

I coasted along in undergrad on turning in solid stories. I knew I was a good writer and tended to get very good feedback. But, at one point, I was (as they say) "sent back down the mountain," and it was not at all a pleasant experience. This was on a story that I felt was pretty good, too.

And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My teacher told me to suck it up, get back to writing, and learn from my mistakes. (Which I did--the very next short story I workshopped turned out to be the first story accepted for publication in a literary journalism.) From then on out, I learned that the stories I turned in that were rougher, actually gave me better insight into myself as a writer through workshop.

Sure, it's okay to submit something that is "close," but it's also okay to submit things that are rough. Very rough. I've had fellow students and current writing group members say, "Look, this is rough. But the idea is there. Appreciate any help." And, that usually tells your reader that it's not up to your usual standards and you're aware.

If this group is great as you say, then they'll be absolutely thrilled to help you look at something rough and make it better. That's the ultimate goal. Not to turn in the most amazing story first time around, but to figure out how you can make each and every story (or novel, poem, etc) the best it can be in the long run.

It's up to you if you want to continue only turning in what you think are "star stories," but, you may also pass by the chance to have people help you through some of the other phases of story-writing. This is a great opportunity.

I will say that those of my fellow writing workshop folks who always seemed to turn in funny, entertaining, delightful work? Not working now. They learned that they didn't need to "do much" to better themselves. The ones who are published had a few stinkers in workshop--but I consider myself pretty darn blessed to have seen them at their low and high points.

Good luck! :)

Note: This was a program where we were expected to turn in short stories every other week (the MFA). Undergrad, we turned in 2 stories per semester, so those were expected to be more polished.

Neegh
02-22-2015, 10:17 AM
Gee James sorry my opinion chafed.

CrastersBabies
02-22-2015, 10:48 AM
Gee James sorry my opinion chafed.

I thought you had a great post. Someone asked for your opinion and you gave it. Without being a jerk. No harm there.

Jamesaritchie
02-22-2015, 07:40 PM
Gee James sorry my opinion chafed.

It didn't chafe, it's just wildly different from my actual experience in college. Other colleges and other professors may have handled things differently, but where I went, quality mattered, and handing in poor work at any stage meant a lower grade.

Neegh
02-22-2015, 07:50 PM
It didn't chafe, it's just wildly different from my actual experience in college. Other colleges and other professors may have handled things differently, but where I went, quality mattered, and handing in poor work at any stage meant a lower grade.

Obviously, being result oriented as I am, quality means nothing to me.

Jamesaritchie
02-22-2015, 08:10 PM
It's great to get good feedback from your workshop, but if you are only giving them stories to entertain them, you're not going to get the best out of Workshop, imho. I went through undergrad and an MFA and all the good/bad that comes along with that.

I coasted along in undergrad on turning in solid stories. I knew I was a good writer and tended to get very good feedback. But, at one point, I was (as they say) "sent back down the mountain," and it was not at all a pleasant experience. This was on a story that I felt was pretty good, too.

And it was the best thing that ever happened to me. My teacher told me to suck it up, get back to writing, and learn from my mistakes. (Which I did--the very next short story I workshopped turned out to be the first story accepted for publication in a literary journalism.) From then on out, I learned that the stories I turned in that were rougher, actually gave me better insight into myself as a writer through workshop.

Sure, it's okay to submit something that is "close," but it's also okay to submit things that are rough. Very rough. I've had fellow students and current writing group members say, "Look, this is rough. But the idea is there. Appreciate any help." And, that usually tells your reader that it's not up to your usual standards and you're aware.

If this group is great as you say, then they'll be absolutely thrilled to help you look at something rough and make it better. That's the ultimate goal. Not to turn in the most amazing story first time around, but to figure out how you can make each and every story (or novel, poem, etc) the best it can be in the long run.

It's up to you if you want to continue only turning in what you think are "star stories," but, you may also pass by the chance to have people help you through some of the other phases of story-writing. This is a great opportunity.

I will say that those of my fellow writing workshop folks who always seemed to turn in funny, entertaining, delightful work? Not working now. They learned that they didn't need to "do much" to better themselves. The ones who are published had a few stinkers in workshop--but I consider myself pretty darn blessed to have seen them at their low and high points.

Good luck! :)

Note: This was a program where we were expected to turn in short stories every other week (the MFA). Undergrad, we turned in 2 stories per semester, so those were expected to be more polished.

I don't think anyone said the point should only be to entertain and amuse. i said a story that doesn't do these things is not a very good story.

And as i said in another post, turning in a story you think is your very best can also let you know that you aren't a very good judge of your own writing. Getting shot down can be a good thing, but turning in your best work in no way means this isn't going to happen. We all had what we thought was some of our best work torn to pieces.

Getting shot down for a story you know is bad is a ho-hum experience. You expect to get shot down, and it teaches you nothing. It's getting shot down for work you slaved over, and thought was as good as you could write, that teaches the best lessons.

One thing I didn't touch on, and your mileage may very, but we never had a heck of a lot of choice about what to workshop. Some chasing a writing degree had a lot of time to do nothing but write. Most of us didn't. We made time to wirte what we had to write, and that was it. Even that was often a late night after late night after late night strain.

Anyway, for us, we were expected to write well, and we were expected to submit/workshop our very best writing. It was getting that shot down that meant something.

But entertainment, meaning, amusement, etc., mattered. To my way of thinking, that's what good writing is all about. There is no otehr way to show you've learned what you're supposed to learn, other than by writing stories that do these things.

Sadly, a big bunch of people across the country manage to get an MFA while not being able to wrote anything worth reading, anything that will ever sell, but I've never seen the point of a program that would hand out a degree to a student who couldn't write stories that entertained, or did whatever it took, to sell.

Marlys
02-22-2015, 08:16 PM
Do I workshop it? I know it needs more work, and I do feel a little stuck when it comes to knowing exactly what's not working and how to improve it.
You know it needs work. You feel stuck about how to improve it. You're in school to learn to write, and you think you're in a good group. So, yeah--workshop it.

CrastersBabies
02-22-2015, 10:46 PM
You know it needs work. You feel stuck about how to improve it. You're in school to learn to write, and you think you're in a good group. So, yeah--workshop it.

I think this is a great approach. I remember putting up my two best stories right off the bat during the MFA, and getting solid responses. I was terrified to submit something less than perfect (and seeing as we had to submit every other week, most people didn't have an arsenal of 7-8 completely finished and perfect pieces). That meant you wrote them and revised in the time you had. One of my professors said "the rawer the better sometimes. You have to learn how to let others in the door . . ."

I kept that with me. I've gathered some great writing pals over the years who aren't afraid to share less-than-stellar work because they've reached a point where they are struggling. And they tell themselves, "It's okay to struggle right now, you have help."

And through those experiences, many writers I know have learned HOW to help themselves, HOW to let others see their less imperfect work. It's also about trust.

I wouldn't have done it in undergrad, no, because I was still a bit guarded, but my writing group (professional writers who have all been published--a few who are nationally acclaimed) has seen some pretty rough writing. They know not to make bullshit nitpick remarks about grammar or syntax issues that they know I'll get during a more intensive revision. They know how to see what a thing is trying to be and help me make it better.

I will reiterate that putting up good work isn't a bad thing. It's nice to know when you're close. Sometimes, you give people a manuscript that only needs some fine-tuning. Minimal revision. Other times, you pour it out from your gut, warts and all, and see what happens.

Anyway, again, good luck! It takes a lot of awareness to know when you're putting up good material only and why. I think it shows growth in admitting those things and wondering if there's a new way to try.