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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Critique/Review (for writers) (05/06/10)

TITLE: Egg On My Face
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
05/09/10


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Putting down my first Writer’s Guide magazine, I press my PC’s power button. Theatrically I shout, “If fellowshipping with local scribes should behoove me, then I shall bestow upon them my royal presence.”

Browsing the results of my Google search, I discover several groups in my county.

How cool, this one’s really close, meets this Saturday, topic “The Query,” blah, blah, bring twenty copies of a work in progress for critiquing.

“Yes! Critiques too,” I leap out of my chair to do my happy dance and sing; “I’m in the money. Oh, look out honey. You’re gonna read the world’s next best selling whatever rhymes with money.”

_____________________________

Taking deep breaths, I pass out copies of the first two pages of my novel. While proceeding to the lectern I clear my throat. I scan the room before unveiling my firstborn.

The group leader thanks me for reading my work and turns to the members. “Okay writers, who would like to go first? Remember, critiques should be honest but laced with grace.”

“I will,” volunteers a man whose gray hairline has receded beyond his ears, and whose jowls touch his chest. “First, your introduction is not typical.” I smile while nodding my head in agreement.

I knew I’d wow them.

He continues, “I would like to hear more showing and less telling.”

“Okay,” I whisper.

What an idiot. Can’t he tell this story is for adults? This isn't a show-and-tell kid’s picture book. Jerk.

A matronly looking woman wearing red-rimmed bifocals repeats the old guy’s sentiments.

What are they? Children’s book writers? Or maybe illustrators for baby board-books?

She goes on, “I couldn’t sense your voice on these pages.”

Is she kidding? A voice is heard, not sensed; listened to, not read. What planet is she from?

“Perhaps giving each speaker their own lines would make them easier to follow,” offers a man with jet black hair and a beard.

Duh, of course each speaker should have their own lines, what should they do, use somebody else’s lines? It’s called dialogue, buddy.

“The best way to become a good writer is to be a good reader,” interjects the group leader.

I thank everyone for their feedback, promise I’ll return next month, determine to never waste three hours with these wannabes again, and crave chocolate.

Next to the ice cream shop is a bookstore. Maybe I’ll salvage the afternoon and buy a writer’s critique book.

The store is the biggest bookstore I’ve ever seen. A smiling clerk approaches me.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m looking for a writer’s guide book or a book about writing, not about penmanship or anything like that, but about actual book writing stuff.”

“If you will follow me I’ll be glad to help you. We have an excellent selection, and we can order whatever isn’t currently in stock.”

Walking to the back of the store, I see a whole section on writing. The clerk reaches for a book on a top shelf and hands it to me. I flip to the Table of Contents and find the list interesting. I thumb through the 250 pages before I turn the book over to read the back cover.

Hum, by Dr. Jonathan Greenaway. Where have I heard that name before? I open the back cover to read the author’s bio. There’s a picture of a man whose gray hairline has receded beyond his ears, and whose jowls touch his chest.

The clerk interjects, “Dr. Greenaway is from these parts you know.”

“Yeah, I know,” I mutter.

On the shelf in front of me I see a college literature textbook. I grab it and place it on top of the book I’m already holding. I immediately go to the back inside jacket and see a husband and wife couple. She stares at me from behind her red-rimmed bifocals; his pearly whites are sandwiched between his jet black hair and beard.

“The authors are professors at our state university.”

“Of course,” I shrug. “Any chance Miriam Manning’s a published writer?” I ask with sarcasm in my voice, referring to the writing group’s leader.

“Oh yes. Her series is over here.”

Following the clerk, I scrunch my forehead. Her series?

The huge book display surrounds Miriam’s poster. “She’s doing a book-signing for the release of her fifteenth installment of 'The Restless Retiree’s Rendezvous'.”

I place Miriam’s first five books on top of the others I’m carrying.

I gotta read these before next month’s meeting, and wash the egg off my face.


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This article has been read 511 times
Member Comments
Member Date
The Masked Truelovers05/13/10
A creative story for showing the importance of humility in the author, and the willingness to receive advice from both readers and more experienced writers.
Marilyn Schnepp 05/15/10
Loved it! Wish we, and our FW buddies, could or would do the same with our "stuff", that we call 'writing' -(if you know what I mean, as in HONESTY) This was truly an interesting read, hit home, humorous, and writr's true feelings at being "shot down" so to speak. Neat job, well written, and Bull's Eye on target. Enjoyed it from A to Z, with no boredom; (which is rare due to a short attention span when critiquing) Kudos!...with a capital "K". (^.^) !
Brenda Shipman 05/16/10
This was hilarious, and humbling! Oh geesh, why can't we learn humility some other way? If I ever join a critique group, I'll google the membership list first! :P Such a fun read!
Kimberly Russell05/17/10
I really liked the line about unveiling your first born---it sure does feel that way, doesn't it?

Really enjoyed this well written, fun read.
Connie Dixon05/17/10
I liked this a lot. There's so much truth in the critiques and also in the way the writer handles them. I learned a lot from your message. Great read.
AnneRene' Capp 05/17/10
Thoroughly enjoyed this in every respect. In addition to the lol moments as I read this, also left me smiling!
Jan Ackerson 05/17/10
Very amusing, and I love the MC's voice.

I almost expected your MC to persist in their attitude, despite finding out the credentials of the critiquers!
Ann Grover05/17/10
I sensed the MC's attitude right from your introduction... This vibrated with feeling: sarcasm, presumption, and finally humility... as the MC's accepted the group's critique "laced with grace." (Few missing commas, but very enjoyable / on-topic.)
Noel Mitaxa 05/17/10
A great mix of enthusiasm, reality and self-deprecation. A good fun read. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard05/18/10
How many of us have felt exactly the same as your MC? You've done a masterly job in showing her emotions towards the critiques. Great job, loved it.
Kate Oliver Webb05/19/10
Very creative, original, well-written and fun. Great job with dialogue, including the "self-talk" your MC was doing. Really good stuff here.
Mildred Sheldon05/19/10
Loved the title. Don't ask if you don't want truth. That is what I want from everybody that reads what I write. I don't want platitudes. They do not help us grow in our writing skills as well as teaching us lessons in humility. Great job.
Marita Thelander 05/19/10
Great job! My favorite line: I thank everyone for their feedback, promise I’ll return next month, determine to never waste three hours with these wannabes again, and crave chocolate. as well as the laced with grace.