Two events have coincided: I emailed all the mini-critiques for the Inkspill Magazine Short Story Competition and have been receiving feedback on my feedback, and our last taught term at university has come to an end!
Unfortunately, I was hit with the mother of all viruses the night before our last day, so I missed out. I was very, very annoyed (*shakes fist at fate*) as I missed my private tutorial, which had already been rearranged due to student protests hijacking our building, and I had spent the last couple of weeks preparing a presentation on the graphic novel Watchmen for one of our seminars. Also annoyed that I missed out on the general merriment.
So that’s the end of our ‘taught’ semesters. Next semester we’ll have special guest speakers every week or so. That should be interesting. Hopefully we’ll also continue to meet up to do our own workshops. I’m quite shell-shocked at how fast the year is going. The workshops have been so incredibly useful. It’s a shame to lose them.
As for Inkspill Magazine, part of the reason for offering free mini-critiques with every competition entry (man, that was a task and a half to complete!) was to encourage entries, but also because I’m in the initial stages of setting up a critiquing service through the publication. I wanted to know if people thought my feedback had any value before I started trying to charge for it. Turns out a lot of people were very impressed with the critiques, and I’ve collected some fab quotes from happy writers to help endorse the venture when it goes live.
I’ve been offering feedback on writing for… goodness, nearly nine years, since I first joined online critiquing sites. I did the same thing during writing workshops on my Undergraduate course, and I’ve been doing it again, much more intensely and with lots of academic consideration, with the Master’s. It’s something I enjoy: editing, analysing, picking apart and reconstructing, offering opinion (because let’s face it, all critiques are opinion in the end) and encouragement.
One of my classmates thanked me for my ‘superior editing skills’, which made my head swell, and then I had a really long and wonderful email in my Inkspill inbox about how useful my critiques had been. (My head is now the size of a space-hopper, and I’m typing this while said head is propped up on a pile of books as my neck can no longer support the weight.)
Don’t worry. It won’t last long. The default modesty and self-doubt will kick in again soon.
Anyhoo, I’d love to hear your opinions on critiquing services – what you’d expect to pay, what you’d expect to receive, if you would use them (if not, why not), any past experiences…? etc. Please leave any comments, or feel free to contact me directly.