Friday, December 07, 2007

When Not to Listen to Members of Your Writing Group

This is something I posted on the Wyrdsmiths blog:

Wyrdsmiths had an interesting meeting last time. Three members got ticked by stories by other members. I won't talk about the two other people, but I was one. In my case the problem was, the story in question is about the Norse gods. Most of what we know about Norse mythology comes from medieval Icelandic texts; and being Icelandic descent, I tend to get possessive.

I've thought about it and decided, I am going to go with my feelings -- within limits. I won't be abusive, and I won't keep telling the author his idea of the Norse gods is wrong, because SF writers do have the right to a little creative flex. But I will double check his Old Norse, if only because it's interesting to dig around in Old Norse dictionaries.

I've got him on one word, though it took some digging, and a flash of insight on the edge of sleep, when I realized what the root to the word he used was. It's always great when you get a blinding flash of light and say, "Aha! Leggja!"

Granted, a scholar would have realized what the word's root was at once. But I am not a scholar.

Anyway, I have decided that this is a situation where the author should not listen to criticism. My reaction to the work is completely individual and not useful.

Even good critics have blind spots and hobby horses.


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