As it so happens, I’m in the critiquing stage right now and thought I’d offer my thoughts on how it’s going.
Despite my neurosis, in all the critiques I’ve received, I’ve never had one that made me feel awful. In actuality, I’ve gotten some great compliments about my writing, characters, and dialogue. However, getting my ego stroked is not the reason I keep sending my work out.
I do it because I want to be a better writer. I think my writing is good, but I am under no illusions that it’s perfect. Good critique partners have no problems pointing out my shortcomings. And I love it! (Well, after I work up the nerve to open the document).
Having a second pair of eyes is amazing. By the time I send my work out, I’ve read it a million times. I “see” words even if I actually forgot to type them because they’re supposed to be there. Also, other people can pick up things that might seem tiny, but will cause the reader to think you’re an idiot. For instance, in my latest work, I’d described a character as wearing khakis, which was all well and good, except she was sitting down. It would have been hard for the character describing her to see that she was wearing khakis. Tiny, but true. I could have left it in. It’s possible the main character could have seen the pants, but why call it into question? So out it went.
Good critique partners also point out stuff that makes them go “Huh?” It might make perfect sense in my head, but (unfortunately) readers can’t be in my head. Therefore, I need to rephrase.
Last example – In chapter one, I’d totally mangled an idiom. As I mentioned, I’d read it a million times and never picked up on it. My CP did. It’s all fixed now.
Hooray for critique partners!
I can only hope I’ve returned the favor in the critiques I’ve done.
How's your writing going? Have you had good critiquing experiences?