Tough Love

The Critique

Yesterday’s crit group crucixion–painful as ever, but it was one of those sessions where a lightbulb went off in my head that will affect my writing positively from here on out.

I attempted two things with this story: (a) to finally break down whatever wall that’s prevented me from writing something connected to my Asian-American experience ( as well as develop another niche to pimp out my stories) and (b) to write about a fascinating sub-culture that I’ve only a passing familiarity with.

How did I do, according to my critique group?


  • Set-up was “intriguing”
  • Usual compliment re: my “hip rhythm,” esp. w/dialogue
  • A sci-fi story w/a lot of tech stuff, but still about people/characters having to make particular choices.
  • One reader got “everything I need to know about the [protagonist’s] family [of origin] dynamic.”


  • (From the tech guy in the group, keeping me honest) Nix the term “RFID,” which is already dated (my story takes place, oh, about 15 minutes in the future).
  • Need to be clearer what I’m talking about when I make other references (e.g. to cochlear implants, etc.)
  • Not really clear how pervasive and powerful the tech is that I’m writing about.
  • Protagonist’s motivations unclear–is what the protagonist doing legal? How does he feel about the world he’s about to step into? Why’s he stepping into it? (Grrr!)
  • Short debate about expanding/expounding on technical descriptions but being careful not to do that at the expense of character.
  • The most helpful comment and the one I’ll take to heart for the rest of forever: To make the world of my story as clear as I made the protagonist’s family-of-origin dynamic!

Duh! Not that I didn’t know I should do that, but it helps to have an example to point to in my head.