Digesting Negative Feedback

I’ve been struggling with a longer work of fiction for a while, and recently had someone I trust in the literary business read it and give me some great, constructive feedback.

She had a lot to say about its strengths (which I appreciate, of course) but also lots to say about its challenges (which is harder to hear, but also crucial). I left the discussion feeling sort of disparaged. It reminded me a little of how I felt in college after working like crazy on a term paper, putting everything into it, then getting a B back, with a comment about how it needs some work at its core.


Anyway, I find this kind of thing hard to bounce back from. I need to really be able to feel motivation and endurance to tackle it again. It’s a long-term project (a marathon, I guess) whereas the short ones offer fun little bursts of satisfaction and can come and go in a matter of days or weeks.

So I’m putting the big one aside for a while and want to see where I am in a few months and whether I have good ideas to move it forward again.

I think the project has a lot of value but it needs a fresh approach, and I have to figure out if I have the creativity and strength for it.

In other, semi-related news, I’ve got three longer plays simmering that I’m working on here and there:

Everything’s Going to be Okay: This is the one I had the reading for in April. Feel sort of similarly about this one. I got lots of great feedback at the time but I do think there’s some fundamental work that needs to be done, and I haven’t quite figured out how to tackle that yet.

The Dating Project (working title): This is a piece I’ve been asked to write with a potential January production on the line. About a 40-yo project manager who’s struggling to find a decent life partner, going through all the different channels to evaluate options. I’m having fun with it so far and hope to finish a draft by the end of August. The trick is to approach this somewhat-tired subject with freshness. I think I can do it!

The Deserters (working title): This is the piece I drafted during the Caridad workshop. About a disparate family where the father may or may not be dead, the mother is struggling with health problems and there’s a special-needs daughter who’s trying to communicate with them all. Meanwhile, another daughter living in Louisiana is trying to figure how much of a role she should play. Lots of potential but needs a lot of molding and sorting. I’m signed up for a reading of it on May 19, 2019, which is a nice, far-off deadline for me. I’ll look at it again when the above Dating piece is drafted.

And lastly, in easier, shorter news…. I’ve got a cast coming together for the short fringe already, with a ridiculous comedy called Big Guy which I think could be super fun. And I think Ellie’s going to direct it. It’s got a lot of moving parts and she’s much better at that kind of complex coordination than I am. I’m hoping for a late-January, early-February production date.

Okay, that was lot. Thanks for reading. Now mull it over, Max.


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