A She said-she said account—Pepper and Amy Style
On Friday Amy and I talked about the first 2 elements involved in making a 'perfect match' for Crit Partners. Today we're going to finish up with 2 more elements to making that match :-)
PB: Ooo, this one gets a bit tricksy. Taking constructive feedback always is! First off, if you’ve established the first two ‘matches’ (writing and personality) it makes this last one fit much better!! Finding a ‘match’ for feedback is vital for our mutual growth as writers and story-creators. Ames is a very DIRECT feedback giver, but she tags on a ‘honey’ or ‘sugar’ to make the medicine go down J I also can take the word-slashing better because the first two ‘matches’ are already in place. The great thing about our match is that our skills are pretty similar too. We have some mutual weaknesses (overwriting being one), but we also have strengths/weaknesses which complement each other. A CP pairing is really about complimenting, critiquing, and conversing. (How’d you like that alliteration,
Ames?) (You know I’m all over that!)
ALS: I’m with ya, Pep. Feedback is so important, but how we digest it depends very heavily on the source. I am quite direct, and I give very detailed feedback because I know you can take it. If I’m going to invest my time in your stories, I want you to have an all-access pass to my head. (As scary as that may be sometimes!) But instead of only pinpointing trouble spots, I balance it to include what I like. A lot of people, myself included, need that positive reinforcement to help see where the tension breaks for the reader, where they laugh or start swooning over the hero. I need to know these things, but very often critiquers don’t include this very critical information. (You do this quite well!)
I suppose there are some writers who are more secure and might not need it. But I do. Which is a main reason why I hack and I dote. I want Pepper to know that though my knives are sharp and ready, since I am so invested in her stories and in her dreams, the bottom line is… I want to bolster her confidence. See her grow. Have her put out the best story she is capable of telling. (Which is a
pretty darn good one!) I am, after all, her biggest fan!
Spiritual Match:PB: As Christians incorporating this aspect should be a natural part of what we do. Ames isn't just my CP for technique and story, but she's also my CP in the spiritual aspects of the story. We write with the deeper goal in mind than just a good story. We right with the purpose of instilling life-altering hope. Ames helps me look out for those elements in my story too.
ALS: And that curbs back into the friendship and trust aspect. Pepper isn't just a stranger with a lyrical talent, nor is she an acquaintance. She is one of my closest friends. This makes it easy to see where the plot might veer off course or miss her intended purpose for the heart of the story simply because I know her. I've talked with her about the spiritual takeaway and the themes that make it more than just a nice, feel-good read. We have something to say, and we can help each other say it.
PB: On a personal level, like I've mentioned before, we pray for each other. We share our hearts and struggles. We encourage and support each other in many other ways than writing alone. It's the third strand of a beautiful thread that binds me to Amy...and to all of the AlleyCats. Not just heart and mind, but also in spirit!