Tomorrow night I'm going to a critique group. This is run by a writer I respect and I really am looking forward to it. Really.
I'm going to hand over pages of my sweat and blood and let them maul it, rip it to shreds and then tell me how to put it back together again. I'll let them take my carefully crafted words and cut them up into little bitty pieces....
No, I tell myself, no, its not going to be bad at all. These are a just a group of peeps like me who would never, ever scar a person in such a way. They will be generous and kind and give real insight into my work. I hope.
I can only justify my fear from my last experience with a writer's critique group. It was just a few years ago when I found a group at the local library. With my precious pages clutched in eager hands I sat with this group as they talked about the work submitted the previous week. The woman next to me had tears in her eyes as they systematically ripped through every word of her story. They objected to the main charactors hair color, his vehical, the fact that he used the word "fuck" at one point in the story. The writer next to me tried to explain her thoughts and where the story was going but these harpies couldn't get past one thing in the story without some word of distaste. It was like they were ordering her to take her story to places she never intended.
I tucked my pages into my purse, made an excuse to use the ladies room, and never went back! It scared me off of critique groups for a long time.
But here I stand ready to leap into the fire again...I'll let you know how it goes.
In the mean time; Tell me about your experience with critique groups. I want to hear your stories!