I recently faced one of my fears and searched out crit partners. It’s funny how scary the idea was to show someone my story since my end goal was to share it with everybody. Ah, the mind, it is an odd thing.
It was an interesting process, and I learned a few things on the way. One, space out your crit partners. I knew reading and critiquing would take time, I just didn’t realize how much time it would take. And of course, you can only read and review one book at a time. I also realized it would have be kinder to the second reader if I had fixed the typos (yes, I’m call all errors typos) and awkward sentences found by my first reader.
But this post isn’t about all the things I learned about finding a crit partners. It’s about what happened after I got ’em!
What’s harder than giving your precious writing to someone else to look over?
The responsibility of reviewing their work.
It’s huge. Your job is to find all the problems with their labor of love – their creative passion.
Reading someone else’s work is fun and exciting – jumping into a new world with some kind of crisis BUT when you put on that editing hat, it’s so different. Awkward phrases, “typos”, repeated words, etcetera can’t be overlooked (like when I read published work).
But you also get to spot those gems where the words are put together beautifully or the innuendo is subtle but spot on and makes you smile or the emotion so deep you get choked up. And you get to tell them that too!
The process is a lot slower than I thought. (Perhaps it will get easier and quicker the more I do it?) I read slower, sometimes re-reading, took notes, and scrolled back to previous parts to check for consistency. –Why is it always easier to do with someone else’s work! But I digress.
The hardest part is taking my own personality out of the equation when it comes to style. This was chiefly true when I started a story, but once I grew accustomed to the writer’s style it was less of an issue. For this reason, I chose not to work on my stuff the same day I worked on someone else’s.
The cool part is being on the ground floor, so to speak, of a new story. Though I’m still finishing my second critique, I have been intrigued by both stories.
I’d love to hear about your first crit experience and suggestions about critiquing in general.
Now, I’d like to introduce my crit partners:
Dana Ardis, Author of New Adult Urban Fantasy
One of her short stories is being published later this summer in the Modesto Fresno Anthology (the title is subject to change).
Shah Wharton, Author of Speculative Fiction
Currently writing The Supes Series.
image by openclipart.org