So, for the first time in let’s say 3 years — maybe longer? — I turned a story over to a group of strangers today with no advanced editing/reading by anyone. Which means I’ve been slowly freaking out since roughly 3:50 p.m. this afternoon. There are several reasons for the freaking out. I think I’ll list them alphabetically:
C is for Character Worries (Or: E is for Eli). The story that I turned in uses a character that’s not new to me, though the story (mostly) is. So I’m nervous about the reception he’ll get, and I’m worried about whether I gave enough information about him in the story, because he’s pretty well composed in my mind.
G is for Gender Switching in Writing. I wrote the story from the 3rd person POV of a guy. This is something we’ve discussed in class before a little, but today the instructor admitted he believes it’s one of the hardest things to do well. And I do tend to make my guys too, uh, un-guy-like.
I is for I’m the Only One Who’s Read This. This is a little post submitting fear that I always have, which includes things like, “Will anyone understand my point?” and “Did I accidentally use the name of someone in my class in the story?”
M is for Mean Reviews. I have been fairly critical of all of the other works we’ve received in class — and by fairly, I mean both that my critiques are mostly composed of critical advice and that I feel the advice was honestly (fairly) given. This is the kind of review that I would like to get on a work. So turnabout should be fair play, but it occurs to me that some people were probably looking for (and writing) much more gentle reviews than that which I composed. Which means there may be a few people who want to rip into whatever I write just to be mean. In fact, when I said I was passing out my story today, one kid in the class actually laughed rather evilly. So that’s maybe not a good sign. Having said that, though, I hope I’ll be able to take criticism for the story well, or at least in the spirit in which it’s intended. and as for evil laughing guy, if you create characters with no conflicts and no plot and then spell lots of words wrong and forget to stick to any consistent type of dialogue format, well, I’m not going to lead with “I liked the description in this story” just to hold your hand. Please consider making your mom your only reviewer if that’s what you’re looking for.
T is for Trying Too Hard. I’m afraid that the story will look like I’m trying too hard to act like I know what I’m doing, or making all of the “rookie-but-you-think-you’re-not-a-rookie” mistakes. The problem is, I know what some/many of those mistakes are, and I still think I may have made them.
W is for Why Didn’t I Stick Close to Home? We’ve talked a lot about using personal knowledge and experiences to make writing stronger and more believable — something the instructor very strongly believes in for beginning stories. And I had planned out a based-in-small-town-Kansas story, and then, last night… I couldn’t finish it. So I went with what had caught my imagination, and I’m afraid it’s going to look all weird and contrived and trying-too-hard (see above entry).
At least the stress will reduce after Tuesday, when all of the critiques (both written and in-class) will be over.
And tonight, I need to write another paper, a much less creative paper for my BritLit class — a class I am coming to haaaate. OK, I do hate it. It’s almost driven me to crossword puzzles. But I did buy a used Incubus CD today, so that’s happy news. And I walked/jogged 2 miles with .