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Monday, September 12, 2011

Getting My Emma Frost On

This week, Janiel, Russo and I will get together with our writers' group for our monthly meeting. For the first time in a long time, I'll bring a short sample from my book to be workshopped.

And I'm scared, y'all.

Not because the people in our writers' group are scary. They're all lovely, wise, talented writers who have already taught me a whole bunch over the years. You may know them from their work over at Smashing Stories.

No, I'm scared because - as Janiel has so colorfully put it - sharing your work with a critique group is kind of like placing your naked baby in the middle of the street so all the townspeople can come out and throw rocks at it. And since it is, after all, your baby lying there on the cold asphalt, you feel every one of those rocks. They might as well be pelting you instead.

But here's the thing. Good writing does not come out of a vacuum. It's easy to get trapped inside your own head without even knowing it. When you rely totally on your own perspective, you tend to fall on one of these extremes:

OH MY GOSH THIS IS THE GREATEST STORY EVER I AM A FREAKING GENIUS EAT YOUR HEART OUT SHAKESPEARE!

or

OH MY GOSH THIS SUCKS I DON'T DESERVE TO CALL MYSELF A WRITER MAYBE I'LL TAKE UP POTTERY OR SEWING OR UNDERWATER BASKET-WEAVING . . .


Neither of these are true. It's really somewhere in the middle, you just don't realize it because the only perspective you have is your own. And this is what the critique group brings: outside perspective. They can pick out all the moles and blemishes and extra digits on your little naked baby that you don't see because it is, after all, yours. You won't get it right the first time, my friends. And that's okay. No one gets it right the first time. Let me say it again: No one gets it right the first time.

I know this. I get it. But I'm still sceered.

So, this weekend I started thinking about how I could psychologically prepare myself for our upcoming writers' group. I needed inspiration. A symbol, if you will. And then it hit me.


Emma Frost. For those of you who aren't geeks like me, Emma Frost is a mutant (a la the X-Men) with the ability to morph her skin into diamonds, like this:


And what are diamonds? Only the toughest substance on the earth! Ain't no stones getting past that! Even when she's not all sparkly, she's still tough. Check out her expression in the first pic. That is stoic. That is untouchable, man. I'll bet she never even blinks. Oh yeah, I'm totally ready for a good workshoppin' now. Pelt away, writerly peeps!



She'd make an awesome Halloween costume, by the way. Russo probably has a pair of boots just like that . . .

10 comments:

Robin said...

I share your fear. I really need to buckle down and do some work and find a writers group, but I haven't done it because then I'd have to show them my stuff and...you know. It's more fun to keep pretending I'm an undiscovered genius.

So, I'm going to channel your Emma Frost, too and throw it out there and hope that the universe helps me along with this, because I Need The Help.

William Kendall said...

Underwater basket weaving?

Emma also has the strangely innate ability to turn herself into the single most important person in an entire franchise, continuity be damned, even if she's heretofore been a second rate character. It's the Morrison Quandary at work.

Janiel Miller said...

Underwater basket weaving is similar to underwater BB stacking. They are singularly useful skills and are oft declared as majors at local colleges.

At the risk of sounding uneducated, William (not a stretch, considering I DID major in Underwater BB Stacking), what is the Morrison Quandary? I cannot fully appreciate your comment until I know.

Maegan Langer said...

Yes, I too am curious about this "Morrison Quandary" . . .

And there are days (i.e. every day) when I think even underwater basket-weaving would be much easier than writing.

Robin, there's more than one way to do a writers' group. You don't all have to be in the same room together. You can always trade work over the interwebs with someone you trust, i.e. your Gnomies. Just sayin'.

Robin said...

Maegan - that's the best idea I've heard yet.

Janiel Miller said...

Yeah. Plus we're nice, and Russo gives the best comments ever. People file them away to pull out when they're having a bad day.

jjsundevil said...

grew up on xmen
me luvs this thought

Sara B. Larson said...

Hope you have a great experience with your writer's group! It can be scary, but like you said, it helps you get great perspective on your work. Pull on that diamond skin and go for it! :)

William Kendall said...

Aside from writing as if he's using drugs (check his Batman run; you'd swear he's smoking some premium weed), the Morrison Quandary relates to him singlehandedly making Emma Frost the most important character ever for some reason.

Must be the way she dresses.

Russo said...

SO I finnaly saw this movie and I can totally see what you meant by reselent, I better get my Emma Frost on too.

Great idea to incorporate X-Men with chasing your dream. I love how your brain thinks.

PS-I so have boots like that:)