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. :)

3 comments:

  1. :) Thank you, thank you, thank you (can't say that enough, really!) for taking on my 100,000-word WIP. I always cringe asking for critiques because I know it's really long and I'm sure there are many more flaws than the ones I'm already aware of. You have already done a great job pointing out some of those, so again, thank you so much!!!

    All those reasons are spot-on, and I'd like to offer a 7th: To take a break from your own work. After ages and ages of writing and editing, rewriting, and tearing your hair out, it's a good idea to put down the WIP and get some distance. I'm one of those people who has to be doing something or I go crazy. Critiquing another person's WIP is a good thing to do while you wait. :)

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    Replies
    1. YES that is also a very important reason. Taking a break is sooo important.

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  2. These are great reasons to CP! I know I really love critiquing when I find someone who's a good match. Especially the learning part. Plus being able to read something and knowing it's going to be published some day and people are going to love it is an amazing feeling.

    And yes, I'd definitely be interested in being entered for the critique giveaway. I think it's super awesome of you to offer it as a giveaway! It can be tricky finding teens who are willing.

    janealfalor@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

Hey there! I really treasure every comment... whether it just be a hello or a deeper thought. I love hearing your thoughts! :)

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