Monday, September 17, 2012

Critique Partners are ESSENTIAL!

Often times new writers will think they don't want to find a critique partner or group ... but it is essential to improve our stories!

As a writer, it is EASY to picture what my main character looks like, acts like, and talks like ... but have I portrayed that image accurately to my reader? How will I know if I don't let a critique partner rip it open? A "nice" reader (like your mom or BFF) may not have the will or desire to tell you what's wrong with your story, but another writer who wants to help you improve will (should) tell you.

One of my brutal critique partners is my 16-yr-old daughter. Seriously. She rips my stuff apart! But I just love her more for it.

I recently gave her the first ten pages of my newest work-in-progress. I waited for her to come to me and say: Give me more pages!

But ... she didn't! ACK!

I asked her what she thought of the pages, and she grimaced. She hated the main character. Why? I asked (shocked, of course, because I love the main character). My daughter said the m.c. complains too much, and it annoyed her as a reader.

What? My main character is not a complainer! She's strong and goal oriented and confident and happy ... isn't she?

I asked my daugher if she liked anything about the m.c. ... My daughter thought TOO LONG and finally answered: I like her name.


So ... I'm reading chapter one again of THE FIRE IN FICTION by Maass, and I'm reconsidering the concept of SAVING THE CAT by Snyder.

Clearly ... the image in my head did not carry through to the page and then to the reader.

How about you? Do you have critique partners that you trust to tell you the brutal truth about your writing?


  1. Your daughter sounds awesome. I have a bud that will rip an MS to shreds, but it is all done through comments, questions, pointing out things, sharing what certain phrases caused her to imagine or to so helpful because it DOES help to see if you are or are not getting the picture in your head on the paper. Your daughter was wonderful to share her honesty with you. At least you got one thing down: the name :-)

  2. Family will do that to you. My daughter and my sister are ruthless. (Partly because they don't bother saying anything positive, they only focus on what's wrong.) I can't have too many critiquers like them or else I'd never want to write anything, but when the time is right, they are good for getting me to reassess plot points and pacing.

  3. What's in a name? Hopefully everything in this instance! lol Love unfiltered opinions, and your daughter sounds like a very insightful person to have around. :-)