I’ve been hanging out over at the Absolute Write forums, having a few things like my first chapter, query, and synopsis critiqued. Also doing some critiquing of other work. I’ve noticed a pattern: I fundamentally disagree with most of the other reviews.
If it was just of my work, I could believe I’m just being sensitive; that my work is too brilliant for them to understand (lol), but it’s the same thing for other writer’s pieces. It’s like we’re from entirely different schools of thought on what makes up good writing or the potential for good writing.
I don’t mean that they love stuff I hate; they pretty unanimously pan everything- but for different reasons than what I would point out. I don’t know if I should trust my own tastes and opinions and try to find a more like-minded group; or assume I’m really wrong about the whole thing and I should shut up and learn from them.
They are a mix of published and aspiring writers. Mostly unpublished. They are so unanimous in their views, I feel I’m missing something fundamental. My main difference is that they are very literal. They want everything set up and explained immediately. They refuse to read any further to get that information. China Mieville would have been completely eviscerated by this group. Any author who uses in media res, would also be sacked.
For me, if the writing is engaging, I’m willing to travel with the author to find the answers. To give the them benefit and be willing to be confused for awhile. Very different expectations. I get slaughtered every time- as does anyone else with this style. Frustrating.