Monday, August 6, 2012

Critter Misfire

I'm a member of Critters, an online writing-group of sorts wherein you critique other people's work and get your own critiqued in return. Whenever one of your stories turns up in the queue (which takes about 4-6 weeks, in my experience), you can expect around twenty critiques, most of which are quite useful.

There are exceptions, however.

A surreal moment happened earlier this week when I got a critique of a sci-fi short story I'm working on. This story is essentially about a woman who wakes up in a Matrix-y kind of puzzle platform adventure. She's being guided around by the disembodied voice of an unseen technical administrator. I think it's a pretty nice blend of high-concept science fiction and low-brow humor, but this person who critiqued me thought I had attempted to write a thriller and missed the target entirely.

The critiquer... critic? ...critter? The gal who critiqued me took about the first 1000 words worth of narrative, re-wrote it from the ground up as an action-thriller, and in doing so, she stripped out all of the humor and character development. It was pretty jarring and I would have dismissed it as an outlier, except that it was the very first critique I received. So I had to wonder if she didn't maybe have a point.

Anyway, I'm sure her heart was in the right place, I just don't think she understood what I was trying to do. Thankfully, I've gotten some other critiques back, so I know that at least somebody understands.


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