Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Suddenly" is Cheating


My critique group met last night, and I just have to say: I love these ladies. Not only am I getting to read their awesome stories and receiving valuable feedback on mine, I'm also learning from their personal experiences.

For example, Lori and Gwen attended a writing retreat a few weeks ago with Arthur Levine. Yes, I bow down in their presence. They have met God :) One of the things he pointed out in everybody's manuscript is the dreaded, "So you see Bob..." It's the part of the story where the main character overhears someone telling some vital information. We all laughed, but we've all done it. Not good. We have to find better ways to write the story.

Val pointed out a section of my manuscript where I told instead of showed. The sentence read:
Gilbert lifted his leg to stomp on the boulder when suddenly it transformed into a man, a very litle man, who raised his head and reached out to grab Gilbert's leg.
"Suddenly is cheating," she said. "I want to see this." Good point. I'll be working on that today. Kim and Lori pointed out an area where the characters should have been scared, but they take it all in stride. Well, duh. Of course! Why didn't I see that?

I started blogging just over a year ago. And I remember reading about people in critique groups and wishing I had that and wondering how to find a group to join. I had false starts and I've had wonderful individual critiques from other people. But I feel so lucky to have found these amazing writers in my group. Being able to hash out ideas, find the weak spots in my writing and hang out with a fun bunch of people has to be one of the best parts of this journey so far.

And I'm so glad they won't let me cheat :)

21 comments:

Corey Schwartz said...

Wow! Tough bunch :)

I'm sure I overuse "suddenly". I'll have to be more aware of that one.

Yat-Yee said...

Finding a group that fits is priceless. I am glad you found yours.

Lazy Writer said...

I have several of those moments when my mc overhears something. Yikes! I didn't realize it was bad. Oh boy! More revisions.

Tess said...

I want to read more about Gilbert and this strange little man - how wonderfully creative :)

And, a good reminder to us all. No cutting corners, not allowed. I love that you have such an encouraging crit group.

Rebecca said...

So, you see Bob... --that's funny! But, alas, I am guilty.

Kelly said...

Sherrie, so glad you found a group that is so helpful and trustworthy!
I love my group, too! It's so fun to read their work and to get valuable feedback on mine.

Lisa and Laura said...

I am so doing a search on suddenly in our WIP. Great tip! Thanks Sherrie!

PJ Hoover said...

Sounds like you have a great group! What a fun thing to catch :)

L.H. Walker said...

This lady is loving you too! Our group is feeling amazing to me as well, suddenly. :). Seriously, I think we all got great feedback last night, and I can't wait for more. Thank you!

Solvang Sherrie said...

Corey: They are tough, but I want that, so I end up with the best possible manuscript.

Yat-Yee: Priceless it is!

Susan: Glad I could share that tip from Levine =)

Tess: Glad that teaser piqued your interest. I hope the agents I'm querying want to read more too!

Rebecca: The Bob thing still cracks me up too :D

Kelly: It makes me all kinds of happy to have such a great group. I'm glad you have that too!

LiLa: Glad to help :)

PJ: I do LOVE my group.

Lori: I think we are suddenly on the verge. Really =)

Carrie Harris said...

I'm another suddenly addict. It popped out to me when I critiqued a manny that said, "Suddenly, she blinked."

I have been trying to blink suddenly ever since, but I'm still not quite sure how to do it. And it's made me much more aware of how I use that word!

Sarah Laurenson said...

If only it were as easy for me as finding the word 'suddenly'. I do this without using a keyword to tap into. But that's the fun part of writing - finding where else to improve and become better.

That is fun right? :-)

Katie said...

Great group! I love good feedback like that :-)

Karen Denise said...

I'd LOVE to find a good crit group. And I'd heard about the curse of suddenly, but I was still guilty of it. I'll have to do yet another ctrl+f for the dreaded word.
Btw, I've nominated you for Kreativ Blogger. Check it out on my blog. I hope this isn't a repeat for you.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

You caught me on the overhearing someone. I just used it, and actually one of my critters told me it was awfully convenient. Yes, it was that. Back to the drawing board. Thanks for this great post.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Carrie: It's such a good word! And so hard to let go of...

Sarah: Fun? I don't know. None of it's easy.

Katie: I've been so lucky!

Karen: Suddenly I'm nominated! Why, thank you :D

Tricia: Sounds like you have some great critique partners, too :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Yes, Sherrie, I do have great crit partners, and one of them was at the Arthur Levine retreat, too. Oh, how I wish I could have gone, but she passed along some cool tips as did you. That's what I love about writers who blog, we learn so much from each other, I think.

lotusgirl said...

Glad you found your group. Usually it is best not to use suddenly, but I did read that sometimes it is the best word for the job. I've been discovering lately that sometimes it's best not to completely reinvent the wheel.

Lady Glamis said...

I think Davin did a post about this word over on the Lit Lab. I'm too lazy and it's too late for me to find the link, sorry. Hah.

Like Lois says, there's a time and a place for every word. Sometimes "suddenly" is the perfect word for me to use. Most of the time it's not. :)

Stephanie Faris said...

I never would have thought, in reading that passage, that suddenly was skipping over something vital. I think sometimes it takes a third eye to see these things!

Edith said...

Critique groups are awesome, aren't they? :) So nice you found a good group!

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