Yesterday was my second writer’s group face-to-face critique session.
This time I submitted a short story called Territory.
Susan, my Alpha reader commented to me that she thought no one would get it. She wasn't completely right, but neither was she completely wrong. After re-reading the critiques it looks to be a fifty-fifty split in the feedback. Of course, I should unpack "get it" means in this context; unfortunately I not sure I can.
It's a bit like defining “what is Science Fiction (SF)”. I know what SF is when I see it, but can't easily explain exactly what SF is. The more one tries to pin down what SF is, the more the definition ends up chasing itself around in circles. The only thing one can do then is make lists and perhaps create a consensus, but this is fraught with its own problems too.
I left the session feeling aggravated, and on reflection, I came to the conclusion that having nine people reading out their opinions of my story 'at me' isn't a format I find helpful.
I felt there was too much feedback for me to (I want to say process, but that is too anodyne a word for the feeling) cope with (and cope is rather an understatement too). I was left unable to reconcile opposing opinions (a conundrum I don't need), which were not helping me to understand my writing, and how to improve my voice.
So I will be researching critiquing, and have already come across this site, which has some useful comments as to what makes criticism constructive.