Tough Love

I didn’t post last Sunday’s critique group evisceration due to sheer exhaustion.  But the hardest two weeks of the academic year are behind me at the dayjob. I took an extra day off for the holiday weekend and I pretty much wasted yesterday (on purpose).  So, I figure looking at these crits would be a good way for me to get back into writing today as I (try to) keep live audio and video feeds of Roland Garros in the background.

It occurs to me now that I’ve only looked at the story once or twice since then. I was temporarily seduced by a couple of flash fiction projects, one for a prompt on Zoetrope, and the other by a Twitter joke gone too far, with further yet to go.

Anyway, I brought the next bit of the short story I brought last crit group session, which is for a seekrit project.  The group read the first part of the second act.  With scalpels and machetes out, here’s what they said.


  • Scene I brought was “heavy” and “dramatic.”  Also, “vivid.”
  • Readers had a better idea of the who and the why of the story
  • The scene “comes alive” where the shit starts hitting the fan and was “scary” and “suspenseful.”
  • The struggle between one of the main characters and the viewpoint character contains “tension” and “suspense.”
  • One reader mentioned that the way a particular magic spell was used might not have worked on TV or in a film, but worked just fine in prose form.


  • Wrote about relationship dynamics between characters that were missing for some readers in the first part of the story.
  • One section I wrote where I blended one character’s speech with the jeers of the crowd didn’t work for everyone. (Though the ones it did work for seemed adamant that I should stick with it.)
  • [This one I knew would be a problem going in–and I was caught red-handed.] With all the drama going on between the viewpoint character and one of the main characters, other characters just sort of faded away into the background… the aforementioned crowd, for instance.

So, lots to fix with this story and a third act to write.  Luckily, I have several months to get it together.

4 thoughts on “Tough Love”

  1. I really like the way you've written this post. I think I'll take a page out of your blog and share more of the critiquing processes of my writer's groups and critique buddies.

  2. I do this to have a record of the comments I get, with an eye toward not getting the same comments about the same sorts of mistakes over and over. It's been pretty useful so far. Glad you like. 🙂

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