The value of writerly critique
Is undeniable. As long as you are willing to listen to what your fellow writers tell you, and to learn from it, you will write better fiction, certainly in the early years of your writing life, and probably always.
There is a tiny little caveat though, that emerged over the past week, as I was catching up with some writer friends I haven't spoken to for ages. It is the strange situation that arises when a story that your peer group loves, doesn't seem to please anybody who might publish it.
At first I thought my friends were having a bit of a whinge (as writers do) but when I got home and pulled out my spreadsheet, damned if they aren't right! There's a pretty clear correspondence between the way writers rate my work, and the amount of time it spends hanging around looking for a home. And both my friends had the same experience.
Why might this be?
Possibly writers love words and craft and focus on that, while editors love plot and character? Possibly the stuff we rush off in a hurry has more energy? Possibly editors see too many beautiful stories and want something different? I really don't know. And three writers does not make a statistically valid sample - but I'm puzzled and intrigued now, and will have to investigate further...
NaNo word count - 9357