so i (unbeknownst to derek) contacted our friend scott who has been reading our blog and stories, even giving us a lot of feedback on them. i asked if he would like to write a post about what he tought of the project to this point. he agreed, so here is what he has to say (i’ll get back to my regular postings next week, my story is shaping up nicely) –
In both my personal and professional life I have been asked for “feedback” on numerous different things. Some things I know about, some I don’t. Some people want the truth, some want reassurance. If I don’t know what they want I try to give them the truth. There are also degrees of truth as you all know.
In the case of Aaron & Derek’s Short Story Project (SSP) they didn’t tell me they wanted the truth but I knew they did. What I didn’t know was what level of feedback they wanted. After reading a few blog posts and some direct emails, I saw they wanted all I had to say and would filter out the chaff of an untrained editor.
When I first heard about the SSP I was in the middle of moving both to Colorado and Greenland. Not a lot of time on my hands to help then but I was excited to hear that some talented friends of mine were pushing themselves to flex their creative muscles and try to improve their writing chops. After settling in in the great white north (above Canada), I had missed two months before I requested to start receiving their stories.
I was impressed with what I’d read. Some better, some reeeeeeally close to awesome, some…meh but better than I could do. Who am I to judge.
Then they asked me to judge. Not exactly me but all their readers, not exactly judge but they wanted some inputs. With the downtime available to me here, I decided to look deeper and give my opinions.
I am not a writer. I hated nothing more in school than to write papers. I do like to read. I did not realize this until after high school but I’m glad I did. I’ve read countless books (mostly Sci-Fi) and I don’t know if I picked the correct authors but the flow of their stories always kept me in the story. Nothing jarred me to the point where my mind took a step back and said, “Whoa, that makes no sense” or “I am completely confused by what the author is trying to say here.”
That doesn’t mean to say I saw that with Aaron or Derek’s stories but that’s what I decided to look for when I was critiquing them. Anything that took me out of the story. So I gave them my findings. I found some small errors, like he instead of the. I found some things that made me scratch my head but I knew what they were trying to say so I’d let them know my opinions. The military has ingrained in me not to just point out problems, but to offer a possible solution. Anyone can say something sucks but it doesn’t help unless you can fix it.
Then, for various life reasons, they started posting how they were short on time and didn’t think they would have the product they wanted by the end of the month. Having babies, bah!
I commended them, and still commend them, for pushing themselves to meet their deadline each month. But I didn’t understand the goal for the stories. If it was just a way to spark their minds and produce something, anything, each month, then I think they are doing quite fantastic. If they are trying to produce quality finished product work in 29-31 days, well they don’t need me to tell them they fell short sometimes. But they still wanted my opinions and I gave them.
I asked the question. I wanted to know what they were striving for. Twelve months and 12 stories or constant writing with ‘proud to put my name under it even though it took six weeks’? The answer I got was, ‘I’ll get back to you.’
I want them to do what feels right for them. I’m glad they are writing again and I feel privileged that they let me read and provide a little feedback. I would like to see them stick it out for the year of 12-of-12 if they can. I wish them luck.
so that’s scott’s take. as a response to him, all i can say is that this was meant as a way to jumpstart me back into writing again. i wasn’t expecting my stories to be masterpieces, but something that at least was enjoyable. in the long run, i am going to go back and try to fix up the older stories and see what happens with them. derek and i tossed the idea of self-publishing a collection of the stories when it was all said and done, but that would be about 1700 pages long at the rate we’re going. i guess we shall just see what happens at the end of the year.