Writer In Motion: Critique Partner Feedback
So this weekend, I got my feedback on my silly Space Cows back from my Writer In Motion CPs. I opened it and read it right away because that’s the sort of person I am. Otherwise, I stress about all the awful things that are going to be in there and oh no they hated it and I suck as a writer etc. Reading it right away clears up those doubts.
The next step for me is to walk away and let it sit. I normally let it sit for a week or two before using the suggestions. This allows me some distance so I’m not defensive. That way I can look more objectively at the critique and use it or not based on its merits, not on how offended I was by it. Taking only the compliments and throwing out the critiques does no good, nor does automatically throwing out critiques I don’t agree with. I have never and will never get a MS back from critiques that’s clean. As you can see, even my short garnered 30 and 40 comments (and I gave as many back in return, even though I loved the stories!). There’s always, always, something to improve.
In this post, I’m going to share with you what my MS looked like after the tender loving care of my CPs. Hopefully this will help, seeing how marked up and ravaged my story was (and spoilers: that ripping it apart is going to make it so much better!).
Now, after I came back from my break, my first thing to do was to go through and mark down on my copy anywhere there were agreements. Even if I don’t agree with the suggestion right away, when there are agreements, that illustrates a potential problem. Sometimes a beta reader will make a suggestion that’s super wacky and out of left field (which can also be fun) but if multiple people make the same suggestion, it’s probably not so wacky.
Right away, I saw two: One is the word “howls” is applied to the monsters, but since I have Wolves later on, that can be confusing. I whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment and will be changing that. The next point of agreement is “derelict”. Derelict is often an adjective, but it can also be a noun, something neither of my CPs were aware of. I tend to use archaic sort of obscure language, so if I want to keep derelict as a noun, I need to accept that readers might stumble over that word. Both CPs pointed it out, after all, and they both rock.
The next step is to transfer comments to my copy that may not be agreed on, but with which I agree. I’ll be changing those, after all, since I agree with them.
The final step is to think hard about the remainder of the comments- not the praise, but the suggestions. I need to decide whether to keep those or not. The praise is great, but I rarely do anything with it, because really it’s just letting me know what I’ve got right. That’s important, but if I’m not planning to change those bits, I’m not in danger of breaking something awesome. The one exception to the ignoring of the praise is when one person praises something and another person suggests a change. Then I’ve got to think hard on that, too.
When I’m utilizing suggestions from my betas and CPs, I never want to dismiss something based on my own pride. I have learned, however, to keep in mind the feel I want to create and my own vision for my art.
After I transferred everything I was going to think about or keep, I have this:
Now, I’m ready to make my changes, which I will post in the next couple days and then send off to my editor, the amazing Jeni Chappelle!
Check out the other Writer In Motion participants!
– Jen Karner http://www.SyllablesandSass.com
– H.M. Braverman http://hmbraverman.com
– J.M. Jinks www.authorjmjinks.com
– Melissa Bergum (will be posting via KJ’s site)
– Thuy Nguyen http://www.tmnstories.com
– Kristen Howe https://kristenswritingendeavors.wordpress.com/
– Kathryn Hewitt https://spinningmyyarns.wordpress.com/
– Sean Willson https://www.seanwillson.com/blog/
– Paulette Wiles http://www.paulettewiles.com
– Talynn Lynn inkinthebook.blogspot.com
– Ellen Mulholland www.ellenmulholland.com
– Steph Whitaker stephwhitaker80.wixsite.com/swhitakerwrites/
– Sheri MacIntyre https://sherimacintyre.wordpress.com
– Susan Burdorf https://writingnotes.home.blog
– Dawn Currie https://dawncurrie.wordpress.com
– Megan Van Dyke http://www.meganrvandyke.com
– Ari Augustine https://bookishvalhalla.com
– Fariha Khayyam http://www.farihakhayyam.com
– M. Dalto https://authormdalto.wordpress.com/blog/
– Sheryl Stein http://www.wrekehavoc.com
– Belinda Grant https://belindagrantwrites.wordpress.com
– Coffee Quills https://coffeequills.com
The amazing editors:
Jeni Chappelle https://www.jenichappelleeditorial.com
Carly Hayward https://booklighteditorial.com
Maria Tureaud https://twitter.com/Maria_Tureaud
Justine Manzano https://www.craftquest.org/