Critiquing Marathon Thoughts

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.

Pros.

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.

Always,

Dawn

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3 Comments

Filed under characters, crit, critique, critiquing, editing, ideas, novel, rules, story, voice, writing

3 responses to “Critiquing Marathon Thoughts

  1. It takes a lot of courage to let that many people give input on your WIP! And you’re right, you need a thick skin for sure.

    And we all know–better to hear what’s wrong with the WIP now, than when you get nothing but “nos” from agents. (Or get awful reviews should you self-publish with something that’s not ready.)

  2. One of the best things you can do is to analyze the input you receive. (Other than the consensus, that is.)

    Does the advice given make sense to your overall story? Is the advice off-base? Is the ‘fact’ the critiquer fixating on not a fact at all? Are their problems with a certain chapter related to something you haven’t revealed, yet? 😉

    In Speculative fiction we are working with fantasy. Not everything is going to make sense compared to the ‘real’ world. Most of it does not, did not, and could not exist.

    The trick is to make the story as plausible, and entertaining as possible. Sell the dream, and take the advice that allows you to do so. 😀

  3. Good post. You’re right. Follow your heart when it comes to getting critiques. This is your baby and only you know what direction you want the story to go in. With critiques I tend to sing the Facts of Life song, “You take the good, you take the bad…la, la, and then you have the facts.”

    Okay, the song didn’t work out as well as I hoped, but it does end up that after getting all this feedback, you get the opportunity to pick and choose what works best for your story.

    Hang in there. The second month is when you get your grove in the marathon. By then you should be a couple chapters ahead in your own work, so you’ll have more time to devote to crits. It’s still exhausting, but gets easier.

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