So it's getting to be about that time.... Time to send over my blood, sweat, and tears for someone to rip apart and demolish my oh-so-blown-up writerly ego. Perfect. That's what I need. Funny, how after writing that first draft I feel so proud of myself and unstoppable. Then, chapter by chapter, my beta readers/critique partners whittle away at my masterpiece and expose it for what it is: a first draft in need of revisions.
Thank the Lord for good critique partners. Seriously. I value them so much--they pick out things I don't notice and offer suggestions for improvement that, well, just never occured to me. That's the power of more than one brain.
Knowing my new baby is soon to be in the hands of my trusted beta readers makes me excited and anxious. SO I thought I'd share what --to me-- makes a good critique and what I hope to find out about my own work. I'll also share some of the things I look for and strive for in returning the favor.
One thing is for sure: writer's should never assume their story is finished before running through at least one trusted critique partner.
What I hope to discover after the first time my baby has been read:
*How the story flows/pacing
* Does it make sense
*Is the conflict clear
*Are the characters easy to visualize
*Is the voice clear/consistent/entertaining
*Do you feel like you're reading a story or do you feel like you're part of the story
Also, I love line edits. I don't expect them and I know not everyone cares for them, but if I misspelled or mispunctuated or, heaven forbid, dangled a participle, I wanna know!
When I give critiques, I look for the same things, but my strengths are picking out inconsistencies with characters and spotting unnecessary adverbs. I'm a stickler for using verbs in place of adjectives and modifiers.
Every beta reader/critique partner has different strengths and weaknesses. That's why it's so great to have more than one. At this partcular time when 2010 is nearing a close, and so many WIPs are enduring the brunt of full force revisions and critiques, I thought it'd be nice to find out what you look for when giving/getting critiques.
Please share, so we all may benefit in makinfg our babies glow with precision.