Okay, so I haven’t been around for a while. There is a reason. I have been busy in a Posting/Critiquing Marathon at www.agentqueryconnect.com in the Speculative Fiction Forum.
You might or might not know that my Work-in-progress is a paranormal romance. So I posted my first two chapters, gave critiques and got critiques. There are a lot of reasons to join a group like this and some reasons why you shouldn’t. Let’s go over them together.
1) You get lots of critiques. This way you have lots of people view your work and tell you what works and what doesn’t. If the majority of people don’t understand, or have a problem with your work, you know you have to rewrite. By getting a cross-section of the population reading your work, you know what HAS to be changed.
2) You do get a cross-section of people reading your work. These are the same people who will be buying your work when it is finally finished and published. It doesn’t matter if you go for traditional publishing or e-publishing. This IS your target audience and you have to cater to them in order to sell.
3) This is the best one of all to me. You get to read other people’s work before it is published. You get to help people write better, just as they help you. You never know where you might meet the next J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King. It is exciting to watch others grow!
Okay, now the cons,
1) You get lots of critiques. This way you have lots of people view your work and tell you what works and what doesn’t. Now this sounds just like the number 1 pro, doesn’t it. Well, it is. The problem with this is that you get so many different views, they are often contradictory. This makes it hard to separate the good advice from the bad advice. Just remember to follow your heart. It IS your story after all.
2) Sometimes you just don’t know what to say to someone you have done a critique. It may be that their writing is not your style, or not your genre or even that you just don’t like it. You have to be honest. No matter what, you HAVE to be honest. However, try to be nice about it. Just say things like, “This isn’t my favorite genre, but I can help with what I see.” or just, “I don’t like this genre.” If you use the second then maybe you shouldn’t do the critique at all. However, it is my opinion you should. Even if all you can offer is grammar help.
3)It takes A LOT of time. I was completely surprised at how long it took me to critique everyone else’s work. Too much time, actually. You have to make choices. You can’t always do everyone’s critique, just do what you can. But, you MUST do a few crits, no matter what. if you don’t why should anyone else critique for you? I also recommend reading everyone’s work. Just because you can’t do a crit this week doesn’t mean you can’t do one next week, and so you need to know what the story is and where it is going.
Okay, that’s my opinions on participating in a critiquing marathon. Over all, I think the benefits outweigh the problems. So try to get into one of these groups, but remember to have a thick skin. And, if someone hates your story, use that as motivation and not make you quit. it is okay to have a moment of self-doubt, but then you just have to get up and see what you can do to fix things!
That’s what I had to do. Remember, use it for motivation, not as an excuse to give up.