Now that the contest is over, the MLS board is quiet. It seems those authors inclined to do so have started some groups. Those authors not so inclined are doing...well, whatever they want, I suppose.
I have joined a Yahoo writing group called the Anomaly Sandbox, inspired by The Anomaly forum. I've never been in a Yahoo group, so I have no idea how it works or what I'm doing. I'm grateful everyone else seems to be in the same boat. I have also contacted a few authors whose entries appealed to me either in genre, idea or writing style with the purpose of trading pieces of writing for feedback.
Interesting word, feedback. It's the PC word for critique because critique leads to connotations of critical and we can't have that.
The problem is in order for feedback to be truly useful, it should contain some critical elements. I've said before writers cannot afford to take criticism personally. When done correctly, criticism isn't about the writer; it's about the writing. If the writing isn't clear, the author needs to know. How else can it be corrected? That's what feedback is all about.
I sound very stoic about this. Fact is, I've rarely been critiqued on my writing. Oh, yes, in high school and college, but who cared back then? I've only belonged to one critique group as an adult. Since I was the only Christian fantasy author in a group of liberal poets, sex educators and one eleven year old, it's safe to say I didn't find much help with content issues. Actually, the eleven year old was the most helpful. We understood each other. They were nice people, but they argued with me over the PC aspects of calling certain characters barbarians. That's a fairly judgmental word, after all.
I have been critiqued on other things, though. My master's is in marriage and family therapy. Believe me, you haven't been critiqued until you present a tape of a therapy session to five other students and a teacher and have them tell you what you should have done to help that family. That is personal, and makes critiques of my writing seem like a hug.
So we'll see how this next experiment in the writing journey progresses. I will continue to take one turtle step at a time. Persistence is the key, and turtles can be very persistent.
I will also begin to explore other areas of The Anomaly. It has numerous other boards, after all, some of them devoted to fantasy and sci-fi issues.
See? Even a turtle can learn to be adventurous. I hope I don't get my head chopped off.