Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours


Hello, and welcome to Tabby's Nocturnal Nights. Today, I'm going to talk about what I feel are the benefits of joining a critique group.

It's a tough thing to allow someone to read your manuscript, but an even tougher thing to allow someone to read your manuscript who's job it is to look for mistakes, weaknesses.

After months, even years of working on your baby—yes, to some their MS becomes just as precious as a child—it can be devastating to hear anything less than glowing praise. It would be lovely to receive a critique where the critter had nothing but nice comments to say. “This is the best story I've ever read. I couldn't find a thing I'd change. It's perfect!”

As writers we know that rarely if ever happens. Nothing in this world is perfect.

Someone new to writing might wonder why one would join a critique group. Why would one subject their baby to strangers picking it apart? What are the benefits?

The benefits are numerous. Though if all you are seeking is praise, maybe a critique group isn't for you.

Don't get me wrong, praise you'll find, in addition to encouragement, helpful advice, and guidance to aid you in turning your good story into a great story.

Furthermore, you'll receive support from other writers who know what you're going through. Others with whom to share the ups and downs. You'll acquire feedback, knowledge, and understanding.

Writing for the most part is a solitary endeavor. As writers, usually the ones closest to us have no idea what it takes to create characters, complete with a past, a present and a future. What a struggle it can be to create a world using only words. It can be very draining. At some point you may find you want—need--to talk, interact with others just like yourself.

The smartest decision I've made since I started writing was to join a critique group. The amount of knowledge I've gained is staggering, improving my writing beyond my expectations. Not only have I learned from receiving critiques on my MS, but I learned from giving critiques. In fact, I feel I have acquired more knowledge giving then receiving.

A critique group is a fantastic place to meet writers of all stages in their writing careers. A great place to hone your craft. A wonderful way to make lasting friendships.

If you are just starting out on your writing journey, the best advice I can give to you is join a critique group. Learn, laugh, make friends, and have fun.


arcummings said...

If the MS is as precious as a baby, does that make me a bad "mom" because I hate my with fiery passion? ;)

Couldn't agree more than a crit group is the right way to go. But it helps to have tough skin in case something someone says rubs you teh wrong way. In my crit group, I've been astounded by the stuff people have pointed out that needs fixed. But they're totally right. God willing, when I get all that stuff fixed, I will have an awesome MS in my hands.

Brenda said...

LOL, A.R, yeah, I'm a bad mom too, because there are days I would like to take my MS and rip it to shreds, douse it in lighter fluid and set it on fire, lol. Nah, just kidding--well, sort of. There are days when I feel that it needs an overhaul.
And you're sooooo right about the thick skin being needed. We have to learn that others aren't trying to hurt our feelings on purpose, but they are trying to help. My skin has gotten quit thick compared to what it was when I first joined a crit group. LOL, I remember the first crit I received, the poor critter couldn't even finish reading my first chapter. I hid for awhile after that, but then pulled my pants up to my neck and revised and resubed it back to the group.