Thursday, April 16, 2009

Critique groups and kiwi vines- separated at birth?

My ASWAAGS writing group met last night and critiqued work for the first time. I am impressed with the knowledge and skill level of the writers that turned out for our meeting, and despite "dreading" one person's comments, (you know who you are, Grumpy Old Man ;) ) all turned-out fine and dandy.

They say you get out what you put in to a group and I put in a decent amount of effort co-chairing one critique group and trying to be a responsive involved member of two others.

This morning, I realized that growing critique groups is a lot like growing kiwi vines:

They require a decent amount of structure and support.

The vines need some initial guidance on where to grow and how to climb.

You need at least two vines, and at least one of each gender if you actually want fruit.

It may take a while to bear fruit, and it might be tiny at first, but it will be sweet.

We put in baby kiwi vines three years ago and were told that we may not get fruit because the plant people were not sure if we had one of each gender, and also that if they bore fruit at all, it probably would not happen for five years or more because the vines needed to mature.

Of our three vines, we do indeed have at least one girl and a boy because we got a teensy little nubbin of a fruit sort of thing the year after planting. We weren't sure if it was actual fruit, until last year, when we were surprised by a tiny, wholly formed, sweet kiwi.

It takes time and effort...and a little fertilizer, but sometimes your vines might surprise you with the reward of fruit quicker than you think.

Anyone for kiwis?

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