Posted by: victanguera | September 2, 2009

Four Little words

At my most recent writer’s group, the phrase ‘I don’t buy it’ came up. Unfortunately too often.

Maybe it’s just me, but I found that phrase made it hard to engage in a dialogue. I’ve tried in the past to explain passages that this individual ‘does’t buy’, but I’ve already failed.

Fair enough if this was a published work, but isn’t part of the purpose of a writer’s group to help one another figure out why things don’t work and come up with solutions?

Two others in the same group filled in mental blanks for the same gaping hole, with intriguing results. They excite me enough to go back to the piece see what ensues.

There is a certain level of irony in that. As writers, our job is to convey thoughts and emotions. And the words ‘I don’t buy it’ convey little. Except disinterest. And I guess I can buy that.



  1. Interesting response. This is an Americanism meaning ‘I don’t believe it’, as in it cannot be true, or it’s a lie, or it’s unbelieveable or I don’t get it.

    You are correct in saying it puts an end to dialogue. However, the person who doesn’t buy it should really qualify their response and you might need to ask them for that if it isn’t readily forthcoming.

    Frankly, it is pretty much a non-commital answer if left alone. That can tell you a lot about the person that utters those words.

    Good luck with your writing group. If they are not buying things, maybe it is time to get a new group.

    • Yes, asking for clarification would be the best response. I think it started when I refused to engage in heated debate over a piece, instead choosing to listen to all comments, mulling over their suitability in private. You are right though, asking for clarification about why it doesn’t work for her will probably help both of us.

  2. I think that you were courteous enough to listen to all comments and wanting to think about it before commiting yourself to a response is very mature and thoughtful. Wish more people were like that. 😉

    • Thanks Arlene. I used to defend my writing, but discovered along the way that it is impossible to grow as a writer if you don’t actually listen to the critiques offered. Although they might sometimes be hard to accept, they are a necessary part of the process.

      After this week’s crit group, I discovered those words “I don’t buy it” come out more often during a critique of my writing. Hum, must have gaping plot problems that need fixing.

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