I’ll warn you now, as a group for getting critiques on my writing, this one was the worst of the lot. Maybe I should have investigated the format better beforehand. Getting to be a theme with this project.
The posting only listed the name of the group and the date/time for the meeting. I guess I had no way to investigate without showing up but still … sigh. Since I was disappointed with previous meetings using an “author-reads-out-loud” format, I figured I’d take the initiative and print out a few copies of my first chapter.
I walk into the room and find a crowded table full of Floridians. Eighteen of them. For a two hour meeting. That should be hint one that this wasn’t going to work. There’s no way for that many people to present their writing in two hours. I was greeted by one of the two women that seemed to be running the meeting. After introducing myself & my purpose, I was politely informed of the meetings format.
This group focused primarily on people developing memoirs. In Florida. Because “Everyone has a story to tell.” That may be true. However, as I soon found out, the meeting seemed to be more along the lines of a place where the elderly could hang out and be treated like they were in a nursing home’s activity center.
Each person had been asked to bring a flash fiction (500 words) piece on the topic of … of… I can’t remember. Doesn’t really matter. Within the topic, the story was supposed to be based on each writer’s life. So the meeting proceeded with each person reading what they had prepared followed by brief comments by the audience. 99.9% of those comments came from the two people running the meeting. It was like being in English class all over again. I’m surprised we weren’t required to stand up while reading to the class.
In case you’re wondering, when it came to my turn I passed.
Everyone in the group had fairly decent writing. Some of the topics were a bit ‘eh, but no big deal. Several of the people in the group were retired from some part of the publishing world and a few were still being published.
In one piece, a character was talking to someone else about getting some eggs out of the chicken coup. The character then “Scrambled off to get them.” I thought it was very clever. No idea if it was original but I loved it.
In another piece, the raging surf of the ocean was described as “She had her panties in a wad.” I’m probably not giving that line justice, it was funny at the time and in the context presented.
Besides the “teacher / student” dynamic, several of the stories involved romantic themes. Even though I knew these people were talking about old lost loves and such, it still gave me images of old people sex. Eww.
Will I give up on this mad search? Hell no! I’m having too much fun procrastinating from my own work.Follow @Andrew_Heister