My only regret with this session was the fact that I did not bring a tray of brownies, blondies, cookies, cake, tarts, or something along those lines for everyone to enjoy while we were having our first meeting of 2015. Like our MAP Retreat, we were all split according to genre, and we got Daren Shiau as our guest writer / workshopper of the day.
We launched into the reading and critique immediately after most of us arrived. And while everyone had their own style and genre of writing, we really enjoyed the story behind each of our pieces.
At the end of it, these were some thoughts I took away from the session:
- Technicalities – redundancies, over-adjective/adverbing everything – happens to the best of us. Sometimes, you only catch it only after reading it aloud. So if someone points that out to you, even Man Booker / Asia / Pulitzer Prize winners have that problem so no sweat!
- The importance of reading cannot be stressed further. It exposes us to different perspectives, genres, and forms which we can apply here and there. Also, it gives us less confusion if we happen to be fluent in a particular literary lingo, at least a little.
- You cannot get much from an extract. Sure, it has to be punchy and meaningful and everything at the same time, you cannot really draw much from those few paragraphs and ask for feedback. Otherwise, it’s going to be all technical again.
- Your audience will find you, and you write for that audience. However, for now, you write for the most important audience – yourself. Be genuine in what you want to tell, and people will feel it.
So yes, it was three-hour session, though it felt like it flew past, probably because we were having so much fun. Regardless, I brought back a whole new list of things to reconsider and to rewrite for my own piece.
While I am grateful for everyone’s comments and feedback, I do look forward to the next meeting. Onwards, then!