Monday, 24 May 2010

Mixed feedback

Tonight in class on the City course I work shopped the chapter I had written where Roland meets Almir for the second time and asks him out. The feedback I got back was mixed... somepeople didnt get how gay people often do the dating thing - sex first, romance later and "switched OFF" because the "lost interest apparently"...there were clear consistencies on some issue though - most people wanted me to make more - expand on Roland's day out with his daughter Jade(but I dont want to write about that!), about his night out in Barcode(well, ok, alright) and about his first week at work(am ambivalent about doing this too)...also regarding making it clearer as to exactly why Roland is infatuated and giving a fuller physical description...most people also wanted more on the actual dialogue between the two of them and suggested that(probably right) Al would be more hestitant and coy.

The feed back is much more in depth on these sections than I recieved from The Novelists club...

Overall...I need to put it all away and then when am ready get it out and decide what criticism I agree with and what I do not. I also read somewhere recently that it's not necessary to make your every chapter gripping and emotional deeP and its ok - infact it is preferable - to leave a few gaps in back story and let the reader work it out for them selves...its a shame we didnt have a chance to debate this point (though of course its impossible in the time we have).

Clearly though, I have to do more research into recreational drug use!( and I dont mean taking any myself - Ive never done anything worse than sniffing poppers or smoking a little spliff occiasionally) - these days I have long since abandoned such things and dont even touch alcohol - which I never drank in copiuos quanties either.
The thought of going back into Barcode for the first time since 2003 scares me i must say. I am in a very different place as a person - but , oh well, for the sake of reasearch maybe.


  1. Join the bloggers' club for those thinking about mixed feedback (see my entry ).

    I do feel people can be a little facetious sometimes and use the opportunity to be a little too clever in front of the class in their comments on others' work. It's not the spoken feedback that I feel is the most valuable -- it's the detailed comments people make as they read it -- and overall these are worth their weight in gold.

    I do agree about your point about having chapters that perhaps drop the pace a bit and let the reader reflect. That's what the start of my chapter three was like, which drew my most mixed reaction so far. I'm not sure we've fully got into novel mode during our workshops. The people whose work seems to have been best received are those who started at the beginning and carried on -- so there's no ambiguity about what happened in missing chapters and so on.

    You also experienced something of the same reaction as I got with a character who wasn't necessarily likeable, at least to begin with. Well, the whole point of a novel is to perhaps try and show the good sides of these people over a period of time.

    You have an absolute treasure of material about Roland and his life up until now -- and have the luxury of not wanting to follow up some of the aspects of his life you mentioned. Many writers would find it very difficult to generate this material.

  2. Mike - you are too kind - really your reflections are extremely helpful. I ve been trying to not get too sensitive about last night - 'cos when you've put alot into something and get soem quite curt feedback from some quarters - it does hurt. I will do some more writing in Berlin but until then am tied up with other stuff...I am not sure if I should stick with the novel or look at a short story - set in Berlin - which I wrote last year and felt wasnt quite write , though worth holding onto...have subsequently workshopped this and got v positive feedback from published authors - so maybe I'll have a break from Sweeping Up for the duration 9but then again ...)

    p.s. On Radio Four late last night there was a news report about war crimes /Atrocities being uncovered now - 11 years after the war ended - which were committed by the KLA - I sat there thinking - my story, my story... so watch out in the news 'cos its very topical right now.