Wednesday, February 8, 2012

To Do List: Critiques

Here is my first installment of the writer's to do list and how to get it done. If you want to see what's on the to do and/or if you have suggestions: Go Here.

Now, for the first thing up on the To Do:


Some of you may say, This isn't on my list, so it doesn't pertain to me. I say WHAT!? If you are a writer, you should also be a contributer. One way, and the best way, is to critique your fellow writers work(s). If we don't extend the olive branch, then how do we expand our fan base? (And if you even think a fan base doesn't need to rethink the whole writer thing) I'm a member of a critique group (which I'm sure I've mentioned) on AgentQueryConnect (which I know I've mentioned) and I love my group. We are a fairly new group, and each week we post a chapter or few for the others in the group to critique. Currently we are all beginning to wrap up our first MSs, and although I've been lucky enough to get to read each of their stories-I will buy them and read them again when they are published. In addition to my group, I swap chapters with two different people that I met on QueryTracker. And I recently began helping out with Caterina Torres' Short Stories. When I have time, I also critique queries on AQC. Through doing all this, I have gained: Friends and other writers to critique my work(s) and to give me opinions on my work(s). If that is not motivation enough for you to add critiques to your to do list, then you may not be ready to call yourself a writer.

Now that you are convinced, let me give you some tips on how to manage this task:

     1. Join some writer forums first and foremost-they will aid you in your journey and will become a very important part of it as well. This will help you network your work and yourself, it will help you connect with other people who are going through the same thing as you. This is a place that will help ground you. It will be somewhere you can go after you just got your first or thirtieth rejection letter, where there will be people to help lift you out of the funk and away from that feeling of failure. I have mentioned the best two in this post, but there are others out there. Find one, join it, and participate.

     2. Now that you have joined a forum, browse around. I don't know of other sites, but AQC and QT both have places you can put out a "Want Ad" that let's people know you want a critique partner. In addition, there are groups that you can join and places to post queries and synopsis to have critiqued. And it's going to give you the opportunity to begin critiquing others works.
     3. Once you've done those two things, you're set. Let it happen, let people find you and don't stop seeking out critique partners and groups until you've successfully found some.
Most groups are going to have a certain way of going about things. For example, in my group, we post a chapter or few each week. When I found my one on one partners, we decided what would work best for us, which ended up being 1-3 chapters/week as well. This pace works for me, and it's typically the best time-frame to use.
    4. You have your group(s)/partner(s) and you have your setup....Now what? Do it! Make that commitment, it will help you in many different ways. As long as you keep up your end of the critiquing, you will have a partner/group that will be useful and will be there for you in your journey-with each MS. If you agreed to one chapter a week...critique that one chapter a week. There may be weeks that you are swamped by other things, but you must set aside sometime to get your critique(s) done. No matter how much you have to do. Critique groups and partners are going to play a vital role in your writer life. They will be able to pick you up when you're down, they will be able to push you to do your best, they will be there to say your plot sucks or is great. Regardless, now that you have partners in your journey, you have support that you can only get from people who are going through the same things you are.
SO-Are you a writer? Then you find the time to check it off. I know I say it so simply, but that is only because somethings are just that simple. You need your critique partners and therefore, you need to find time to tend to them.

Happy Critiquing! :)


Stacy Henrie said...

I have a terrific critique group - we meet twice a month in person. They've helped my writing improve a lot and I've learn from critiquing their stuff as well.

Kela McClelland said...

Stacy- That's great that you have a group that meets in person :) My group is only online, but I love em all the same. They have definitely helped my writing improve and I learn a lot from their work as well. It has helped me write and helped me be more hands-on in other critiques. Yes, good critique groups/partners are a must have.

Sunny said...

It is a hard work to find a CP but no matter which method you choose the reward is well worth it.

Kela McClelland said...

Sunny- Yes, definitely worth it :)