It was nerve wracking. Everyone was talking over each other, to the point where all the voices melded together in one clamorous yell.
“I don’t like her.”
“She’s being such a bitch.”
They’re talking about my baby.
No, not Bella. The world had better hope I get a bit less uptight by the time she goes to high school, because if I ever heard someone talk about her like that, I’d kill them.
Not this is my writers group. That I willingly attend. I look forward to it even.
It was hard to remember why, as they ripped my story to shreds, complaining loudly about the lack of tension. It’s hard to remember that they aren’t actually yelling at me, they’re excited to have finally stumbled upon that key thing that was bothering them as they read my story. There’s this moment where the problem of a story clicks. For everyone in the room. At the same time.
It’s a good thing. They care about my story. They care enough to get excited when they realize what’s wrong. They care enough to spend the time to figure that out. If my story sucked, they wouldn’t have to try so hard to find out whats wrong ;). Not only would the flaw be more obvious, but they wouldn’t be invested enough to care, And it’s an awesome thing. I was upset, and defensive but not offended. And they weren’t offended by me being upset or defensive.
It’s a beautiful thing. I’ve been on the other side of that table, talking over the person next to me about how I hate this character, or how I’m so bored with the story. And sure I had a moment of “wow, I should have been nicer,” but I won’t be. It’s not personal, and they know that. After I got home, and took a day to cool off, I set to work. And while I don’t think my problems are completely solved, I know I made progress, and it’s because of them.
The relationship between a writer and their writers group is a weird combination of stockholm syndrome and dominance play.
I actually just wrote that sentence. Wow.
They’re my friends, but they feel like more than that. If my friends talked to me like that, our relationship would be short lived. They feel like family, but not quite. My family doesn’t understand my writing like they do. They support it, but that’s different then getting it. I don’t know how to explain what my writers group is to me, but I love them. And I can’t wait to go back.