Sunday, 29 April 2012

Writers Bureau Assignment Feedback

Being a writer can be a very solitary pursuit. It's what draws me to it. However, being left alone with the thoughts inside my head with no feedback from publishers other than standard rejection letters, can lead to some very negative thoughts and self doubt.

Years back I gave up writing because of self doubt and the very next day I received my first acceptance letter. I wasn't paid for the work, but it was enough to make me feel like my writing was worth something. Writing has always been very important to me personally, but there's nothing like external recognition.

The feedback from a professional tutor is what appeals to me most about the Writers Bureau.

So although my first feedback in some years was hard to hear on my last assignment, it was valuable and I tried to improve based on my tutor's observations.

For my next assignment I had a list of options and decided to opt for a short story that was a modern day retelling of a fairy tale. I decided to use Pinocchio as my fairy tale because I've always been fascinated by the wonderfully dark adaptation that is the Disney feature length cartoon.

Having studied on an Open University course, I found myself experiencing similar feelings sending this piece off that I had experienced when sending essays off to be marked. I felt fresh at the beginning like I could write the best story the world has ever seen. I then set about planning it and found myself wondering whether it was any good or not. I wrote the story from the plan I made and by the time I pressed send, I thought it was average at best.

This was my feedback from my tutor:

Hello Michael - this was awesome.  it really was an inspiring assignment with some very clever writing.  maybe the idea for your short story was not new, your version of it was however and I think it is excellent.

His comments on the marked assignment read:

Now, your short story for the Bureau competition.  As you can imagine, I have read a number of stories destined for that competition as students try them out on me.  I can honestly say that I think yours is the best one I have read so far.  It really is very good. Emotionally I am a little delicate just now because of family issues that I will not bore you with, but this story moved me to tears because of its harshness to this poor little boy who would not tell a lie.  In the end he cracked, and lied and that was terribly depressing but exceptionally well written.  This is very good – so enter it.

Needless to say I was stoked to receive this feedback. While I appreciate that allowing others to have such control over your confidence in your ability can be very destructive, as a writer I hope for my work to be read, so audience feedback is all important. This feedback from my tutor has given me a push to continue and enter my story into the Writers Bureau Short Story Competition.

The closing date is late May so I'll report back when I know more. In the meantime I will keep everything crossed and hope for the best.

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