asakiyume: (Em)
[personal profile] asakiyume
The same day my friend showed me the photo from the previous entry, I had a great encounter in a pharmacy. There were two pharmacy technicians, young women, chatting. One came over to give me the prescription I was picking up, and I saw on her name tag that she had the same surname as Em in Pen Pal, and a really pretty, unusual first name (so unusual that when I typed the whole name just now into Google, a picture of her popped up on the first page of results).

I don't know if you've seen that meme on Twitter that goes

don't say it
don't say it
don't say it
don't say it

And ends with you blurting out the thing, but that was what happened with me. Don't say she has a pretty first name; that's intrusive, I told myself. And DEFINITELY don't mention that her surname is the surname of a character in a story you wrote.

But I did, and she smiled and said, "Oh really? My name? Where does the story take place?" So I told her, describing Mermaid's Hands, and said that it was kind of a fantasy, and she said, "I love fantasy! You know, that was one of the things I wanted to do before I turned twenty-one--write a book. I started, too, and got 2,000 words ... but then I stopped."

"Oh no! Why?"

"Oh, I let a friend read it, and she had so much to say. She was really sarcastic."

"That stinks! What a terrible friend!"**

"I know, right? The story was about the four elements, and now I see so many stories like that! If I had only finished it. . ."

"So maybe if you write your next idea? It sounds like you're tapped into what people want to read."

... I love encounters like that.

**I really believe this. When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that. I'm not talking about a situation where you're in a writer's group together and sharing critiques, or if an experienced writer asks you to beta read something--that's different. (Though even then there are ways and ways of giving criticism.) But if a friend shares something they've created with you, you don't shit all over it, any more than you would if they showed you their first photos or their first pottery or knitted item or sketch. If the thing genuinely appalls you, there are still ways of begging off without giving the creator a world of grief.

Date: 2019-02-07 01:48 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
What a lovely encounter!

Date: 2019-02-07 02:11 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
From: [personal profile] sovay
When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that.

Agreed. There's a reason that's the one unforgivable thing done by a character in L.M. Montgomery's Emily trilogy.

Date: 2019-02-07 03:06 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Haruspex: Autumn War)
From: [personal profile] sovay
It's like pulling up sunflower seedlings because they're not six feet tall and don't have flowers.

That is a good way of saying it. Or, just because it'll never be a sunflower, a perfectly good cactus.

Date: 2019-02-07 02:40 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
AMEN

Date: 2019-02-07 02:15 pm (UTC)
mallorys_camera: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mallorys_camera
When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that.

I believe that as well. :-)

Date: 2019-02-09 09:29 pm (UTC)
pjthompson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pjthompson
So much this.

Date: 2019-02-07 02:37 pm (UTC)
minoanmiss: A detail of the Ladies in Blue fresco (Lady in Blue)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss
You are so wonderful I sometimes can't believe you're real. I'm so glad you and that young woman had that lovely lovely interaction, and that you shared it with us!

Date: 2019-02-07 02:49 pm (UTC)
minoanmiss: (Default)
From: [personal profile] minoanmiss

Enh, we all curate our online appearance, but I don't think anyone who possesses a good side as radiant as yours could be a disappointment no matter what human frailties you also possess hugs you

Date: 2019-02-09 09:30 pm (UTC)
pjthompson: (Default)
From: [personal profile] pjthompson
I must concur with MINOANMISS.

Date: 2019-02-08 06:57 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
You aren't a disappointment in fleshly presence.

Date: 2019-02-07 02:40 pm (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
Aww, maybe she'll be inspired to try again!

When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that

ITA. Any creative person really -- writer, artist, musician. (Most music teachers infamously spend a lot of time making their students cry. I hate it.)

Date: 2019-02-07 03:10 pm (UTC)
ivy: Two strands of ivy against a red wall (Default)
From: [personal profile] ivy
How serendipitously mutually supportive!

Date: 2019-02-07 07:45 pm (UTC)
gwynnega: (Default)
From: [personal profile] gwynnega
That is lovely. I hope what you said will encourage her to try again.

Date: 2019-02-07 07:46 pm (UTC)
ranalore: (meta)
From: [personal profile] ranalore
When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that.

This was a lesson teenage me had to learn, but there was a group of about five of us, and we all read each other's unfinished first drafts with such a critical eye. I don't recall that any of us were sarcastic about it, though. We just misunderstood how the revisions process worked, and thought pointing out everything that needed to be "fixed" while we were still in the process of first getting words down was how you were "supposed" to do it. Needless to say, not a lot of finished, polished pieces resulted, just a lot of dropped projects, hurt feelings, strained friendships, and depressed, discouraged adolescent writers. It wasn't until years later that I bought a few writing advice books and learned that it's generally recommended to finish your rough draft before showing it to anyone else, and even then the prevailing wisdom was to fix the mistakes you could find yourself first, then show it to some "beta readers." It wasn't until I joined my first "official" writing group, with a few people who'd actually published, that I learned there's no one, true way, but if somebody shows you a work in progress, that's the period in which to only offer encouragement and ask questions that will help them keep developing their story.

Of course, fandom's where I've really learned to develop not just my writing skills, but my alpha and beta reading skills. It's not just my refuge because it's where I go to "fill up the tank," and because of the Pretty and the Competent.

I just wish I could go back in time to that group of girls and stop us from breaking each other. It was unwitting, but that doesn't change the damage.

Date: 2019-02-08 05:17 pm (UTC)
st_martin_a: (Default)
From: [personal profile] st_martin_a
Cool encounter.
It's great when things like that happen.
:)

Date: 2019-02-08 05:21 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
I love you.

Date: 2019-02-08 06:59 pm (UTC)
amaebi: black fox (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaebi
*beam* *hugs*

Date: 2019-02-10 01:07 am (UTC)
ext_701420: Xmas 2014 self-portrait (Default)
From: [identity profile] http://lotuslandfineart.com/velvetrope/
I sometimes wonder if such people who shut folks down like that (as though they are the arbiter of what constitutes quality in that field) were raised by wolves. Then again, even wolves understand pack loyalty, so I am guessing they raised themselves.

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