Seeking objectivity

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Demosthenes
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Seeking objectivity

Post by Demosthenes » December 18th, 2009, 10:45 am

For me, the hardest part of writing is stepping back and seeing my own work with fresh eyes.

By way of background, I have a lot of experience critiquing writing samples. When I was in college back in the stone ages of the mid 1980s, I worked as a reader for a publishing house. They'd send me the first few pages of various books in their slush pile and I'd do a quick report on whether the work had any promise. The hours were flexible, the pay was good enough for a college job, and I loved that I had no supervision, but I quit the job after a few months because the work almost never had promise, which was depressing in a Bartleby the Scrivener kind of way.

Objectivity is particularly difficult in my current project since it's a memoir (I'm a leading expert in a particular subculture, and my book is about my often humorous/ sometimes dark interactions with a group famous for being angry and armed). I've tried a couple of different things to get some perspective, including printing the pages rather than reading them on the screen, reading the pages aloud, and putting several weeks between drafts.

What do you guys do to distance yourself from your own words?

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shadow
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Re: Seeking objectivity

Post by shadow » December 18th, 2009, 10:54 am

It is really very tough. Sometimes you don't know the little slips in your own work as well as a pair of fresh eyes would. I know that for a fact with my own MS. I suggest the best way is to have others critique your work. There is a Share your work section on absolute wirte and there is critters that you could try! Happy Writing!
~shadow~
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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Scott
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Re: Seeking objectivity

Post by Scott » December 18th, 2009, 11:23 am

Time and other projects let me see my work better. Often the epiphanies are less than spectacular in the sense that what needs doing becomes so simple and obvious. Really scares me sometimes how blind and too close I can get.

rose
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Re: Seeking objectivity

Post by rose » December 18th, 2009, 2:10 pm

Demosthenes, I think memoirs are difficult to view with objectivity. I am a co-author on one in progress now, so I get to be my partner's objective eye. And we have a good editor and lots of volunteer beta readers who are mine.

But for me, personally, nothing surpasses walking away and letting a work sit until it goes cold.

rose
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