Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Post

Today, I am guest posting on Jeri Walker-Bickett’s blog. The title is The Power of Words: Opus of Writing. Check it out and let’s hear your thoughts. 

Guest and Blogging,

Monday, May 5, 2014

Critique Partners

It looks like I missed several poetry days. I hadn’t posted on my blog because I was revising my women’s fiction novel, Fogged Up Fairy Tale, and working on a book of short stories, Snapshot Stories. I’m getting down to the nitty gritty of my novel, so I also took the time to look for another critique partner. It’s harder than revising. 

Critiques are one of the creative services I offer. I know how hard it is to find a good critique partner, and how extremely important it is to have one during revisions. A writer should pay for a critique if they are unable to find a partner. A critique is critical in assisting the writer with finding flaws and letting them know when something is working. They help mold the book.

My critiques are thorough when it comes to character, plot, writing, style, dialogue, details, show vs. tell, and inconsistencies. When I work on someone’s book or short story, I want their works to be a success. They get the most from me or I wouldn’t waste my time. Some might say my critiques are brutally honest, but I don’t think I’m to the extreme. Honesty is important when analyzing works, so I tell it like it is using examples to back up my comments. My critiques also embrace praise when I see something is working or find a great line or phrase. I believe it’s important to let the writer know what they’re doing right as well as where I think they could use some help. In the end, the writer is going to choose what they deem beneficial to their works.

Finding a good critique partner is a grueling process. Everyone’s writing is different, and they are at different stages in their writing career. Also, if you find flaws and faults in a writer’s work, they might retaliate by marking up your work without cause. This has happened to me in the past. It takes time looking for and testing out critique partners.

I have a great critique partner and I thought another point of view would be great at this stage in my revisions. After posting on social media that I was looking for a critique partner, two women contacted me the same week, so we set up some guidelines. The first woman found me on Tumblr, and wanted to know if I was interested in swapping stories. Unfortunately, it turned out English wasn’t her first language, and it would have been more of an edit than a critique. I contacted her and explained why I couldn’t continue with the swap. She was very nice, and accepted my decline without argument or insults.

The second woman was flexible with deadlines, but I stressed the importance in keeping with a bi-weekly schedule. It turned out that we were at different stages in our writing careers, so the swaps wouldn’t be beneficial. Again, I sent an email explaining why I couldn’t continue with the critique. Thank goodness she was another nice woman who agreed that we weren’t a good fit.

I’m back to one. But hey, I’m not complaining, I’d rather have one great critique partner than five bad ones.

What are your experiences with critique partners?

Analysis and Honesty,