Last month I shared how critique groups allow for more eyes on your work. This month, let’s go a little deeper.
Find a Critique Partner
He may be one member of your critique group or someone different, but the person should be aware, as a writer, what a manuscript needs. A friend who loves to read is rarely a good critique partner. That person needs to be your beta reader. (Stay tuned for next month.)
A critique partner is willing to read the same chapter over and over, and as her critique partner, you’re willing to do the same when she submits and resubmits and resubmits again.
Together, You Will:
1. perfect the prose.
Just when you think you’ve finally got it right, your
partner will see “it” differently. “Yes you’ve improved the word picture—I can
see it all much better—but the sentence structure is awkward.” Keep working.
You both gain an education in grammar and editing on this journey. From macro-editing the big picture to micro-editing.
- Line edits.
- Copy edits.
- Is the voice consistent?
- How are you doing with sensory details?
- Are your main character’s goals clear to the reader?
- Do you remind the reader of those goals?
- Have you formatted the document correctly?
- Do you have a sagging middle? (The manuscript, not you!)
Critique partners don’t need to be experts in these skills, but the more they know and learn, the more valuable they will be.
2. encourage each other.
Especially when one of you is ready to toss the whole book into File Thirteen.
So, you received a rejection. A harsh review from a reader.
Who knows best how to cheer you up? Your spouse who thinks writing is a wonderful hobby for you? Your coworkers at your day job? Your critique group?
Or your critique partner who knows that rejected piece almost as well as you do?
Ask your partner, “What am I doing right?” She’ll give you an honest and uplifting answer.
And become her cheerleader, too. Praise her for what she does most effectively in her writing.
A Partnership Is a Relationship.
When we weave our words into glorious tales of love and adventure, the most excellent stories involve strong relationships among the characters. Strong relationships anchor life, too. As we write, our plots and themes are pulled from life’s experiences with friends and family. With a critique partner, our best work comes to fruition because we forge strong bonds with another author. And we journey through the book together.
Linda Sammaritan writes realistic fiction, mostly for kids ages ten to fourteen. She is currently working on a middle grade trilogy, World Without Sound, based on her own experiences growing up with a deaf sister.
Linda had always figured she’d teach middle-graders until school authorities presented her with a retirement wheelchair at the overripe age of eighty-five. However, God changed those plans when He gave her a growing passion for writing fiction. In May of 2016, she blew goodbye kisses to her students and dedicated her work hours to learning the craft.
A wife, mother of three, grandmother to eight, Linda regales the youngest grandchildren with “Nona Stories,” tales of her childhood. Maybe one day those stories will be in picture books!
Where Linda can be found on the web: