the wisdom of crowds

1, November 2009

As the wisdom of crowds theory goes when a group focuses their efforts collectively they will nine times out of ten reach a “better” solution than if they were working alone.

When applied to writers groups where the focus is on critical feedback I can definitely say that this philosophy has worked for me.

I’ve been attending the London Comedy Writers group and Script Tank for a while now. Not only has it got me out of the house (a boon for any writer!) but it’s also where I’ve found my crowd.

Just recently I had a couple of my sketches, House Cat and The End is Nigh, read at Script Tank. They were re-writes from the last time I had them read at the London Comedy Writers group that I wanted to test out.

The reading allowed me to hear where both sketches were still slipping off track but it was the critique afterwards that proved most constructive.

The group very quickly honed in on what worked or what didn’t. This type of consensus can be harsh at times but it’s invaluable so you quickly learn to just shut up and listen and be open to what the group have to say.

Up until this point everything the group said confirmed what I was already suspected. But then I got a comment out of the blue that suddenly brought one of my sketches into sharp focus.

Someone proposed a seemingly random, even small, idea that gave me a real “ah ha” moment that I’d been looking for. Within that one idea I suddenly had the answer to a problem that had been niggling me since day dot – delivered to me by the wisdom of my crowd and I couldn’t be more thankful.

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