Thursday, September 7, 2017

Critiquing is work by Barbara Edwards and I need help

I made the big mistake of offering to give a talk on critiquing for my local Romance Writers’ chapter. When I say it was a mistake I mean I didn’t think it through.

I’ve given a similar talk several times over the years and figured I’d do a little tweaking and Voila! there it would be.

Well, I pulled out the old info and found that times have changed. Most of us are online and thus so is our critiquing. 

The rules need to be changed, updated, brought  on-line. So here I am in the midst of a pile of pages that are out-dated.

I need help.

What do you suggest I say to bring my listeners into the 21st century?

I can talk about finding a partner, forming a group, but hesitate to give advise about on-line exchanges. I have two lovely friends who I’d love to critique with but am unsure how to go.

So again, what do you suggest?

I appreciate any help you can offer.

I’m giving my talk in the 16th and will share my results on my next blog.

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Leah St. James said...

I had an online CP several years ago, and I think the important thing for us was to establish the guidelines in advance, then stick to them: length of selection, frequency of exchanges, turnaround time for a response, character of critique (meaning did the other person want a line-by-line read, high-level assessment of story concept, etc.)...things like that. I'm not sure those are any different than what you'd advise for an "in person" critique group though. I guess with online, you'd also want to make sure you are using compatible software, and decide how you want to indicate any notes/suggestions (e.g., using the track changes tool in Word). In general, I would add to look for someone who is at the same general writing level, and who enjoys your genre (whether he/she writes that genre or not).

I don't know if any of that will help, but I know you'll give a wonderful presentation! Love the photos! :-)

Jannine Gallant said...

Margo and I have been critique partners for years now. I think the key to a good online relationship is to get to know (and like) the person in advance before establishing a critique relationship. It's important to learn a little about each other to know what each person can bring to the relationship. If your weak areas are too much the same, it's hard to be helpful. Find a person who's writing you enjoy, but who doesn't write just like you. I can get lost in my suspense plots and ignore the romance. She'll say things like, "You realize they haven't even kissed in six chapters, right?" Oops, my bad! I point out her weak suspense areas and plot holes that need to be shored up. As a result, both our work is stronger. So, my advice is to vet potential online critique partners before going into the relationship to make sure you'll be a good match. I look forward to hearing how your presentation goes.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Honesty is tantamount, and online, that might be a tricky venture (can't see the person's expression with their comments, etc.). Plus, I believe prefer a response-based approach to critiquing a draft. People tend to zero in and edit for the picky stuff, when what most writers need/want is the critiquer's emotional response to the text. I'd say the pair agrees to try some samples and see if the process works for them (including time consumptions!)

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Leah,
I guess I wasn't sure if the same rules apply. Thanks for your help.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Jannine,
How luck you both are to have found a good working relationship. Thanks for the help

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Rolynn,
Thanks for the input. I think that important, too. I just sent out a piece of work with that request. I'm waiting to see.

Brenda whiteside said...

My writing lives and dies with my CPs. I have a group I meet with twice a week, but I also have 3 CPs that I left behind in MN. I interact with them separately now, on line. We are not structured. We send each other chapter or chapters, blurbs, whatever...whenever. I love it this way. So I guess I'd say it has to be a system that all parties are comfortable with. I get hard, honest feedback. In fact, the feedback I've gotten back on my Christmas story makes me want to scrap it and start over. But that's okay. I do not want to put something out there that is sub-par. Good luck with the class.

Barbara Edwards said...

Hi Brenda,
I'm envious of your CPs. I'd like a similar system and hope to findit.

Diane Burton said...

I think something to point out is that critiquers might not be in the same spot in their WIP or have the same needs. I've enjoyed the critiques I've received. They always make my story better. The crit partners see the forest while I'm looking at the maples and oaks. So the partner (or group) need to let the others know what their needs are.

Margo Hoornstra said...

Late here. Working full time is a ... you know. Anyway, much of what Jannine said is true. It helps to know the person you choose as CP. it helps to understand somewhat, why they say and do what they say and do. Complimentary strengths and weaknesses help too. Expectations defined ahead of time? With us, not so much, but it's worked out. ;-)

Alicia Dean said...

I have nothing to add, because all of these suggestions are spot on. Many of them are helpful for face to face or online critiques. Great job, ladies. Can't wait to hear how your presentation goes!