If there is one thing that has both helped and hindered me the most in my writing journey it has been critique. We are too close to our own writing to see its deficits. Our friends and family might be good at proof reading but how much do they know about craft?
Good critique is invaluable. Good critique has taught
me more than anything I could read or study because it points out what I personally
need to work on. When I first started I was desperate for advice and knew no
one; so I resorted to online peer critiquing. Now I know this might work for
some but for me it was a horrible nightmare.
was a nightmare because I write romance, and the few people who bothered to
comment were of the literary persuasion that thinks of romance not so fondly.
Not saying this is the case for all literary types but it was for these. They
were primarily older males that neither appreciated nor understood the genre,
or the style, and so their critique was extremely disparaging and in truth;
have to tell you I even received Rhett Butler type lines from these men like 'Frankly,
my dear' where they proceeded to educate poor little me on true literary
technique - at least as they saw it, and in great long essay form. This is not constructive, this is not helpful.
It almost stopped my writing.
can be helpful or it can be destroying. Going to the wrong place for it can
have major adverse effects. Not everyone will make a good CP. Think
carefully before putting your work up in a public forum where people of all
types can bash you down. Not everyone is constructive, not everyone will get
you or your writing.
I'm not saying a good critiquer is someone who only has nice things to say;
personally I'm quiet tough and not everyone likes that. But, I try to be
honest, point out what needs work, but be encouraging. Sometimes what I have to
say could be taken the wrong way, but honestly I would not offer the critique
if I didn't really see something in the work.
very recently gained a new CP whose work I really connected with and who
connected with mine. She pointed out a few things (some of which stung - mainly
because any criticism of our writing feels like someone telling us our soul is
ugly) but she was so spot on so on point, that her advice has pretty much single-handedly
helped me smooth out those last niggly bits from my MS. And guess what? I
think I might just be doing the same for her.
Other writers are for the most part our best resource and our best friends. The
important thing is to find people who write what you write! Find people
who connect with your writing at least on some level and show your writing to no one else. If you are connecting with
other writers on forums and social media this is a great way to find CP's -
People you connect with but who will be honest. Also if you're a romance writer
like me, try RWA CP matching services. I know I have found a real gem of a CP
that way. These people will help you, support you, and encourage you constructively.
Want to share some CP love or advice?