Find A Good Critique Partner

imagesFHQ2HXNTI’ve talked about critiques and critique partners in the past. If you are a new writer or want to be an author, it is important to have others review your work. Not just for the feel-good effect, but for honesty and constructive criticism.

We don’t always see our mistakes, and as a new writer, you probably don’t know a lot of things that a been around the block a few times writer knows. You are going to make the common mistakes that most newbies make.

One of the issues I ran into was finding critique partners. I have great friends but none of them are writers. Sure they could and were willing to read my work, and I had a few do just that. What they were able to do was comment on my premise and point out plot holes and areas of confusion.

What they weren’t able to do, was say hey, you have POV inconsistencies, dragging dialogue, pacing issues, info dumps…… They knew something wasn’t quite right, but they couldn’t identify the problems.

Another issue you run into is friends and family who want to encourage you and not hurt your feelings. They will tell you your work is great, even when it is lacking and you have broken every rule in the book.

So where do you go to find a true critique partner who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings and knows what they’re looking for? I use scribophile.com. I enjoy the site. They have many published and unpublished authors working together to help each other prepare their work for publication. You do critiques for others and they critique your work. While it’s a large community, you will more than likely develop a following of two or three people who show an interest in what you are doing and follow you through to completion.

There are other sites out there, but I can’t speak for them as I have not joined their groups. You may also find critique partners in your area through organizations like Romance Writers of America, or Christian Romance Writers of America. Have you checked at your local library? Have you tried googling critique groups in your area, or online?

One caution I would offer. Remember it’s your story, a critique partner should help you catch mistakes, improve your writing,  and may occasionally make suggestions, but they should not be writing your story for you. If they are trying to change your work into something it wasn’t meant to be, you are probably working with the wrong person.

Something else to think about.

-Jan R

 

 

Find A Good Critique Partner

It’s Your Story (Revisited)

3aefcc38a20542bd3ee999eca594de5eI’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.

-Jan R

It’s Your Story (Revisited)

How Do You Join Writing Groups?

images-2It’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.

-Jan R

How Do You Join Writing Groups?