Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Road Trip Wednesday-When fiction and the real world mix

So today's question is what real life person has made it into your writing.

As a general rule I like to keep the people in my real life off my computer scene. I like them to much to fictionalize them and force them to say fart jokes. Mom, you're welcome.

But there are a few real life people who have made it into my writing...
IJustine is a youtuber and she's awesome. The instant I saw her I thought, Bryce would love her. So for the sequel to No System at All Bryce is going to fall for a MeNet life caster who has over 2 million subscribers.

The other real life person I EXTREMELY VERY EXTREMELY LOOSELY based a character on was Craig Owens. Jeff Grace is a character that changes Colin's life forever. And I saw Craig Owens in a magazine and his name was mentioned several times while I was doing research so poof, he became someone I VERY VERY VERY loosely based a character on.

NO! Wait Leroy and Jen are my real life neighbors and I put them as characters in my book New York Karma.

In other news: I have an issue and I would like your feedback on it. I'm in a writer's group. We read chapter by chapter submissions of each others work. When we finish reading a whole book, that person has as much time as she wants to edit. Then we read the MS as a whole so we can catch things we didn't notice the first time.

Here's the thing. When I do edits, I take a hacksaw and make HUGE changes. I look at everyone's feedback and really analyze it. However there is one member of my group who makes small changes. She resubmitted her novel and I noticed out of 333 pages about 1 paragraph that was different from the first read.

Now is it fair to ask a writer to change her process of editing for a crit group? Should she have to do huge sweeping changes or is it acceptable for her to make very small changes? Is it right to ask someone to change their editing style and process to fit the group?

The more I think about this, the less certain I am about it. I'd like your opinion.


  1. You're not alone! The fact and fiction in my life intersect all the time. How can they not?

    Regarding the writing partner in your critique group sounds like she's having a hard time delivering feedback. Not that unusual, but no one's first draft will need only a paragraph's worth of changes. But how nice you have such a structured group--those are not easy to find.

  2. Ooh, Bryce and IJustine. A-freakin-dorable.

    As for the crit partner... I think that giving feedback is an investment of time. Something none of us has enough of. If you feel it's being thrown away, that's a problem. A first draft is always going to need more than a little edit. Everything I write (fiction and professionally) no matter how much time I've spent on it, can stand to be edited. I wonder if this person is having trouble separating herself from her work? It's tough to let your baby go. For YOU I would say, don't waste your time giving feedback that is not taken.

  3. She's in a crit group for a reason, I would think that she would've had time to make all these changes otherwise what's the point of going chapter by chapter? (You realize that she's your equivalent to Nemesis, right?)

  4. That's a tough situation about your crit partner! If this happened to me, I guess I'd be a little taken back that I poured a lot of work in offering feedback but then it went to nothing. (I really try to structure my critiques to offer a lot of praise and to give positive-sounding suggestions.)

    But...I don't know if she can change the way she edits until she's ready to do so. I remember being that way--MY BOOK IS AWESOME AND NEEDS NO EDITS! And then the rejections poured in and yeah... I learned fast.

    Maybe you can talk to her roundabout-ly about her latest draft?

    By the way, great meeting at the conference on Saturday!

  5. I'd never heard of IJustine so thank you. So funny.

    As for the crit partner, I agree that to invest your time like that you expect you won't be reading the same ms with the same mistakes all over again. I wonder if you could word your critique of her critique process as more of a suggestion. Like "I think I'd be more useful to you if you made more sweeping changes to your manuscript after we all did edits. That way I'm not focusing on the same issues from round 1 instead of new problems I should be catching." Or something like that. Good luck!

  6. So I just spent waaaaaaay too much time figuring out who the bejeezus iJustine is. Wow. I had no idea what "lifecasting was" before!

    Dude, that is weird with the editing. I take that to mean that she basically... doesn't heed any editing advice at all? People like that frustrate me. Don't put your work out there if you're reticent to change. (Does that count as helpful advice? Probs not.) She should either show that she respects the editing input of her crit partners, or find someone who will read it and say "every word is perfect, wow!"

  7. I don't think it's fair to ask someone to change their editing process for a crit group, but if her style isn't meshing with y'all's and no one is happy with the way she is going about things, I think it is fair to explain to her that the small changes/resubmit cycle is too time-consuming for your group and if she wants to continue in this way, the group thinks she might find a better fit elsewhere. Sure, it's not ideal, but everyone getting more and more frustrated until someone blows up about wasting their time is even less ideal. :( Sorry you're in this position! Things like that are one of the reasons I am wary of crit groups.

  8. Whenever I write something that's actually writing-writing (in other words, not fanfiction), I make it a point to name two people after people that I know and put one of their personalities in another character. I know it's weird, but I think it kind of helps ground me to know that, hey, one of my best friends is here to balance the whole thing out.

    Personally, I would be kind of annoyed if I critted a whole manuscript for someone and they changed one paragraph out of the whole thing. However, if that's how she rolls, that's fine. It's her book, and, overall, she can do what she wants with it.

  9. I can't really say much as I haven't yet read her manuscript (it's literally on my to do list, which I drafted this morning while sitting in the most boring training EVER), but I know we talked about it last night. I agree that it isn't fair to ask her to change her editing style, but I'm also not a hundred percent sure she HAS an editing style. I think she's terrified of making changes because she's afraid of losing her original idea. It's understandable, but it's also frustrating for us. I agree a lot with what Abby said above - my fear, though, is we'll present her with that and she'll tell us to kiss off. It's difficult because she's a sweet person, so separating her personality from her writing is made even more difficult.

    As for my writing, Claire's parents are definitely my parents and God is mostly a combination of Jilly and Valarie - but with a huge golden afro and green eyes. :) Jack is kind of an amalgum of Luke Wilson and the mental image I have of the "perfect" man...classic rock band t-shirts and all.

  10. That sounds so annoying! I think if you invest a lot of time in offering someone substantial feedback, they should at least put forth the effort in making changes. I would talk to the rest of your group first to see if they feel the same way--maybe everyone else's feedback weren't as extensive as yours, so she felt she needed to make a few changes...

  11. When i revise I tend to make huge sweeping changes too, so the idea of a 'revision' having only a paragraph or so of changes just doesn't compute! I guess in the end it's up to her to decide how to change her book or not, but if she's not getting anything out of the group's feedback it's odd that she'd stay in the group for very long.