Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Prompt, First Line & Question

I am loving this prompt and first line series.  When I'm trying to come up with a prompt, I can feel the writing wheels turning.  So without further ado:

Writing Prompt:

Write about a meal.  Where is it?  Who is there?  Is the food important?  Is there conversation or silence?  And when was this meal?

Right before I wrote the above prompt, I dripped ketchup on my keyboard.  Ideas sometimes literally jump right into my lap.

First line:

"You're kidding me, right?"


On Monday's post, I talked about writing groups and the importance of finding a good group.  I attended the Iowa summer writing festival for several years in a row.  I learned a lot and met some great writers.  But one year stands out to me because my group was horrible!  None of their comments were positive towards each other's writing, and their negative comments were personal toward the writer.  Some of the comments I remember are "this is terrible"  and "this person definitely cannot write."  After the first class I walked back to my room ready to quit writing.  The next day was no better and on the third day I asked the professor when we were going to talk about the positives in the writing.  He told me that if I wanted to be a writer I better get a thicker skin.

Wow!  At lunch that day I shared his comment with others at my table (none were in my class).  They were aghast and convinced me that this was terrible advice to give a new writer.  I was buoyed by their reassurances and the next day, surprise, the professor announced to the class that we were to focus on the positive aspects of the pieces.  But by then I was too afraid to open up and share my writing.  It was not a safe environment.  When I look back at this experience, I can see what a bad group looks and sounds like.

What about you?  Are you, or have you ever been, in a writing group?  What were your experiences, both good and bad?  And what do you look for in a group?

I'll be curious to hear your stories.


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