Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What I’ve Learned Wednesday: Critiquing

Thanks to President’s Day I had the day off from work on Monday, giving me tons of time to commence another revision of my WIP. *Yippee* I got some great feedback and suggestions from Sarah and Robin. They edited my manuscript. Thank you girls! I have to admit that this revision is making me really nervous, but it will make my manuscript shine!

In the past, I’ve always been way apprehensive of people reading my work. I avoided it like the plague. This is a way bad idea, my peeps. You must share your work with others. Never feel afraid of the red pen. The problem is that you are so attached to your manuscript that you miss the flaws and/or plot holes. Some hard-core suggestions are the only way that you can get outside of your narrow, blinded box to make your story pop. I’ve worked a little bit with a critique partner, but not as much as I desire. That is a goal of mine—to utilize a critique partner more in the future.

With critiquing, you may get some feedback that is really tough to take—tears may form in my eyes, however, it was a kick in the bum to drive me to a higher level of writing. I grappled for a full two days with thoughts that I was a terrible writer. I was overwhelmed by what was ahead of me in order to make my story *sparkle*. Now I am ready to dive into the deep end of writing with some great direction. I have people supporting me, so I won’t be sailing alone in the vast and sometime scary sea of writing.

What are your experiences with having critiques done of your writing (the good, bad, and the ugly)? Do you use a critique partner? How has that helped your writing evolve?

PS: I have made some great headway revising my manuscript over the past two days. I feel it is going to be even more amazing. :D

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  1. I love using crit partners, but the trick is to find the right one for you. I've shuffled through a good amount. Honestly, finding the perfect crit partner is a lot like finding a good agent. The fun thing is that everyone sees something different. I have one solid partner and two on-and-off again. Each one is in a different place in their writing, some agented, some just starting and some on the exact same journey as me. I think it’s great to have that one-on-one relationship with someone who is struggling just as you are. The literary world, just like any other profession, can really tear you down. I’m beyond grateful to have an amazing group of girls I can turn to. Of course that comes with time, but, one of my critique partners has turned into one of my closest friends. It’s beautiful thing. I get excited to have them read, if only I could write fast enough to get their opinions. Lol.

  2. This is one of the most important lesson a writer learns. Great post!

  3. This is a really great post. Critiques can go so far in giving a novel that extra push to make it great. I'm with you, sometimes critiques can be difficult, but they sure are helpful. They urge us to delve deeper and bring out the best in our writing. :)

    Thanks for the post!

  4. Julia it's amazing how alike we are. I felt the same way about showing my work. I have always dreaded it but I now know just how important it is. :o)

  5. That fresh pair of eyes (or several) can be very important. With WIP #1 I handn't noticed that I'd not mentioned the gender of the first person mc until quite a bit later, and a couple of people who were reading assumed she was a male--which completely threw off how they read what what happened in that section.

    But I've also heard from several published authors that you need to be careful to whom you trust your work, that critique groups can be crippling. Sounds like you've got some good helpers.

  6. I used to be scared to let others read it too. There's just something about being judged that's hard to take. But, you're right, it has to be done. A manuscript can't grow without some objective reads. But I did learn early not to let too many people read it. I have about 3 betas. Any more and you're tugged so many different ways. :)

  7. Donna - you really have to be careful who you trust. With putting so much into my work, I'd hate to have it fall into the wrong hands.
    Kasie - I'm glad I'm not the only one who has been scared to let others read. Great advice to not have too many crit partners.
    Thanks for commented everyone!

  8. I used to be afraid of sharing my work, especially with close friends because I was afraid of being judged. It took meeting fellow writers online to open up. I've received all sorts of comments, which made me realize that we can't please everyone. Now, I take all the comments and decide what I feel is best for my novel, and it's helped me improve my work.

    Recently, I shared the first chapters of my story with a close friend, and she loved it. It was then that I realized that it's not so bad sharing after all. I've talked to more friends at home about writing, revealing that many of them write for fun. It's been a pleasant learning/growing experience.