Thursday, October 24, 2013

Writing Tips: Critique Partners

Hey there readers! Life, as usual, is crazy in Casa Murillo and my blog has once again suffered for it. But I had a pretty interesting topic in mind for today that I wanted to write about so let's dive in!

Recently I posted an "ad," if you will, on the website howaboutwecp. This website is dedicated to making matches for writers in need of critique partners. I didn't hear anything back for a while and then this past weekend I received two emails asking if I was still interested in doing this. I was and I was thrilled! 

Let me just start by saying that when I posted that ad, I was soooooo nervous. I'd never critiqued anyone else's work before and never had anyone other than my sister read my own stories. Yes you read that right. Not even my husband has read my MSs! (he's not a reader AT ALL so I can't really trust his judgement anyway. But he WILL read them if/when I get published (;   ). 

As someone who researches EVERY aspect of writing and publishing, I know having critique partners is not only necessary but also invaluable to the creative and editing process. I was never against having critique partners but I was scared of putting myself out there. What if my writing sucked? For some reason it was just easier for me to edit to the best of my ability and send out queries. I standard 'no' from an agent was safer than detailed feedback from a critique partner. But then those 'nos' kept coming and eventually I wanted to know WHY?! What was I doing wrong?! Well, that's where those critique partners will come in handy. So after shelving my first MS (I'd had some interest but ultimately the market is too saturated with books with paranormal creatures and mine has faeries) I wrote another book, put my info up on howaboutwecp, and sent out my first batch of queries on my new MS. I've had some interest which is great but I really want this book to be 'the one' so I couldn't be happier that I now have two critique partners who can help me make this story the best it can be. 

My first critique partner sent her first chapter over this past weekend and I critiqued it and sent it back yesterday. I was nervous about this aspect of the story swapping process since I don't consider myself an expert on writing. But I do read A LOT so I ended up having more insight than I thought. Plus, I've always been pretty good at editing and with the added research and practice in editing I've gotten in my own writing endeavors, I was able to offer up a lot of tips in that area that were hopefully helpful. I really like her WIP and hope she lets me read some more (: And I'm excited to hear back from her and see what she thinks about my chapters too. My other new critique partner and I are going to be swapping MSs pretty soon as well and I can't tell you how excited I am for that!

Thanks for stopping by. Once this process really gets underway for me I will update you on how my critique partners and I are faring. See you soon!!

For me, writing is very personal. I often compare the feeling of talking about my stories and sharing them with others to what I imagine it would feel like to talk to strangers naked. I know, that's extreme, but letting someone inside your head is deeply intimate for me. It's something I know I need to overcome if I ever want to be a published author.