Monday, February 28, 2011

By the Book

I'm convinced there is no greater pain in the butt job than serving as my critique partner. Fortunately, my CP is patient and long-suffering and articulate. We live many, many miles apart and that's probably for the best because it's tougher for her to throttle me when I exhibit my usual Oh-my-gosh-I-don't-understand-what-you're-talking-about.


It's hard critiquing someone else's work. There's the itch to fix it. (But she doesn't!) There's the urge to change it. (Nope!) And if you're not both mature enough to not take the critique personally, you can hurt each other. Ideally, you can both look at it and say, "Here's the problem. How will we fix it?"

I have a terrible time spotting the weaknesses in my writing. Absolutely terrible. I know they're there, lurking in the underbrush, waiting for an unsuspecting reader to stumble across them. I would prefer burying those weaknesses deep and planting some daffodils on top.

I just have to find them. That's where my critique partner rides to the rescue. She points them out with her scarlet pen. We weed them out as ruthlessly as possible. And then we slap down a wide variety of flowers on that enhance the story instead the murky mess that was there before.

Eventually, when we've both done our best, I send the story off to my editor. And she looks at the roots with a mighty microscope. Sometimes she spies terrible bugs chomping away or slime oozing from the roots.

And we do more weeding. More weeding!

Finally, the day arrives when it's a shining example of word gardening. Then it becomes a book--a story I'm proud to share with friends and family and even total strangers.

But it all starts with the lonely critique partner. Bless her heart.



  1. I love my critique partners too. I always say they help me not be a fat girl in skinny jeans. They tell me how it is without doing for me. New follower from the crusade. *waves*

  2. Welcome, Diana! Isn't that the truth! Thanks for stopping by.

  3. Love your garden analogy. So all you need to do to spot weak areas is go and dig under the daffodils, right?

    Your CP sounds like a treasure. I love my betas too - definitely couldn't do much revising on my own without their input!

  4. Snort. She makes it sound like getting to read her work in progress is a pain. Quite the reverse. Sure, in the first draft there are occasional inconsistencies or confusing bits. That's what first drafts and crit partners are for.

  5. I'm so glad you have a good and patient CP! Have a great day

  6. Never understoof the point of a CP - esp one writing in the same genres - hmmm - conflict of interest - but if it works for you that's good.