I’ve shared this blog before, but it’s been a while, and a message I think needs to be heard. As new writers, we sometimes listen to everybody but ourselves. Our friends and critique partners mean well, but if you let them, some will try to take over your novel and mold it into what they think it should be.
I was sitting on my couch reworking a scene in the novel I’m writing and stopped right in the middle of it. What am I doing? I asked myself. The purpose of the rewrite was to make some changes based on a critique I received from a critique partner.
The person that critiqued my book is very good at the craft, and I respect her opinion. There were others who critiqued the piece and loved it, offering a few comments here and there to correct grammar or replace a word. So who was right? The three people who loved it, or the one who thought I needed to go back and make some significant changes.
The more I looked at the changes this person suggested, the more I realized she had her own idea of the way the story needed to go, and I had mine.
With this being said, she’s made some great suggestions. Because of her, my story is more believable, my dialogue more natural, and my POV more consistent. Her critiques have been invaluable.
However, I had to remind myself that this is my story. Nobody has a better understanding of the dynamics than I do. Nobody knows it from beginning to end but me. Nobody can tell it better than me.
Weigh comments and suggestions you receive from others and ask this question. Is it making my story better or changing it into something it is not?
Remember: It’s your story.
It’s really easy. Really. Once you’ve identified one just go to the site and register and you are in. Most are free with the option of upgrading and paying a small fee for additional support. I thought about joining an online critique group for years but kept putting it off.
This past week I took the plunge and joined Scribophile. I have only been a member for a few days but am already connecting with and talking to other aspiring authors. Scribophile offers critiques on your work also but you have to earn a spot by doing critiques for other members and accumulating points. Once you’ve accumulated enough, you can trade them in for the opportunity to post your work.
I enjoy doing the critiques. I have to admit I was a little intimidated at first. Who am I to read other people’s work and tell them what’s wrong. But after the first one I realized I could help and hone my own skills by exercising what I’ve already learned.
I’ve seen great work and I’ve seen work that was obviously written by newbies. There will probably be people on the site (whichever one you choose to use)that are further along on the journey than you but there will also be a lot of people who are new and need your help.
My only regret is that I didn’t join a group earlier in my writing career. I can now see the benefit and help you get from being a part of a community of writers who want to help and welcome you with open arms.
While I’m trying out Scribophile, there are other critique sites out there. Wattpad and Critique Circle are others I may look into. If you want to find a group closer to home, try meetup.com.
You will find one that works for you and the sooner the better.