Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Why I Critique

"So, you offered to read someone's 300-page book?" he said skeptically.

My dad said this after I put out a call for critique partners in my last post. And yes, dad, I DID offer to read and comment on someone's 100,000 word book. I know you think it's crazy, but I have reasons, you know, and they might not make sense to you but they do to me.

So, why do writers go searching for CPs (critique partners) anyways?

Well, here are the reasons I do it...

1. I get a "free" critique of my own work. I mean, it's not completely free, since I have to critique their work too which takes effort and time, but I can afford to spend effort and time a lot more than I can afford to spend money.

2. A critique of my own work is ESSENTIAL. I am aware of problems to fix after I finish each draft, but the more times I read over my drafts the harder it is to look at it as a fresh pair of eyes (in fact, it borders on impossible). Fresh pairs of eyes are SO helpful. I've spent years on my book, so it's really hard to separate myself enough to see problems. It's so helpful to have someone completely new come in and take a look and point out things I just couldn't notice as I'm not a first-time reader.

3. By becoming CPs with someone, I am switching MSs with another writer, which is incredibly valuable. I do send drafts sometimes to readers that aren't writers, and while they do give good feedback (and quite a lot of encouragement), writers undeniably have more knowledge of what works and what doesn't in a story. As a writer, you're always analyzing books and thinking of what you like or don't like and incorporating those things into your own writing. Not everyone does that.

4. When I critique others' work, I learn so much about what works and what doesn't and just stories in general. You can analyze and break down a published book, but there's no denying that published books always come across as much more polished and complete than other writers' drafts (probably because they are). It's a lot easier to spot what doesn't work with a still in-progress work.

5. I can work on my writing skills. One of the hardest things I've found about critiquing is seeing that there's something wrong, and wanting to point out the problem, but not knowing quite how to put it into words. Or at least, a comment or statement that actually makes sense and will be helpful. You would think that putting things into words wouldn't be that hard for a writer, but it is! (At least for me). It definitely stretches my writing ability!

6. Also, I like helping people. :)

So, dear father, and anyone else who doubts my sanity in taking on other people's works in progress to critique, THAT is why I do it.

OK, so now that I've said how much I like critiquing... I guess I'll do a giveaway, which I haven't done in awhile. Two people who comment on this post will get a free first chapter critique from me. Just let me know in your comment if you want a critique, and leave your email address or some way of contacting you. :)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Changing Tastes & Critique Partners

Since I finished my third draft, I decided that I should really get... meet... whatever... some more critique partners. Unfortunately I just missed the Teens Can Write, Too! blog critique matching up at the beginning of June, because that would've been awesome! I like the idea of critique partners close to my age (even though I am more quickly than I'd like to admit leaving teenagerdom...) 

Anyway, if you're looking for someone to critique your manuscript or anything I'd be happy to be your CP. (or even if you're not!). As a teenager and avid reader of YA, I think I could be useful. (Especially if you write YA. But I looove MG too, and I just worked in an elementary library for a year and with tons of MG-obsessed kids!) :) 

My desk at the library I worked at.
Another thing I wanted to talk about is how my tastes have changed. I started this blog three years ago, which is crazy. I feel like I've changed a lot and my blogging tastes have changed a lot (I am definitely not proud of everything I've posted). I haven't come as far as some people do in three years, as far as followers and such, but I have come a long way as far as writing and reading blogs.

I haven't really managed my subscriptions at all for three years, but now more than ever I notice I'm only reading a couple of posts when I used to devour everything like crazy. Laura's talked about this before, how you read the posts you need to read. (She is so cool, go follow her!) I've also noticed what posts and blogs I'm attracted to. I'm less attracted to the huge group blogs or really popular blogs by aspiring authors. I like the smaller blogs, and my favourite posts are just the ones that ramble on about life and what's new with their writing. I used to skip those kinds of posts. But now those are my favourite. Laura, Raven, and Rachel  all write blogs that I really like right now. Oh, and I also still read almost every WORD for Teens post.

So anyway, if you have any suggestions for critique partners or smaller, more personal-style blogs, let me know! (Or even just blogs you really really like).


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