Tough Love

I wrote a sort of Halloween story to have something ready for group yesterday. I wasn’t going to read, for a second meeting in a row. I’d decided to spend the rest of the year editing my latest long piece, “Masked,” aka the thirty-page beast. But I just had to do something, otherwise I would’ve felt like mooching. So I came up with something called, “Before Me Was a Pale Horse.”

The Good

  • Good build up–one person noted a pattern in which she’s never sure what my stories are exactly about until last moment.
  • Smooth writing (“As usual,” they say)
  • One person talked about the details I left out of settings, character descriptions, etc. and the fact that she still had a more or less complete picture of the characters and situations involved. (Looks like all that Hempel I’ve been reading has paid off.)
  • Good dialogue, used to fill in those details I left out, and to sneak in some expository information.

The Bad

  • Some of the readers in the group didn’t like the fact that they didn’t get all of the little Biblical references I snuck into the story. (Come to think of it, no one commented one way or the other on the title.) There were places I did it “right,” which is to say that I set the reference inside a sufficient context to make sense without any knowledge of Bible trivia.
  • (On a related point, people even read things into certain passages, thinking they must have been Biblically related when they weren’t.
  • A couple of folks wanted to know more about the protagonist sooner. (It’s a constant faux pas I make whenever I write something in first person, now that I think of it.)
  • Due to some plain ol’ bad writing on my part (a fact I couldn’t explain because of our group’s crit rules), I wrote a line that could easily be construed as a sexist dig at my protagonist’s wife, rather than the protagonist himself as I’d intended.

The Ugly
No real ugly. There never is, come to think of it. It makes me nervous, really. Not that I want to hear, “Jesus, your writing sucks.”

Actually, I do know what makes me nervous, but I’m probably not going to go into it here. At least not now.

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