This Skeptic Just Turned Avid Fan

Did you miss me? I’ve been in the throes of fresh, uninhibited editing! It’s delicious. My Critique Partner’s manuscript was due today, and we’ve been blazing through chapter after chapter, draft after draft for a week and a half. We’ve fleshed out meaningful descriptions, and we’ve brainstormed for effective ways of foreshadowing and developing more intense relationship interactions. I love, love, lurve working with this writer! And four months ago, I didn’t know her from Eve.

I’ll admit: when I signed up on Ladies Who Critique, I was skeptical. My previous critiquing and beta experiences have rarely included a trade. I thought I’d end up in the same scenario on LWC—which I was okay with. I would be generous, and I would find someone equally generous. But that’s not how the system is meant to work. It’s truly about the give and take of a partnership. I’m such a loner in my craft I couldn’t quite grasp that concept. That might be why finding a Critique Partner took me a few months. I sifted through a ton of writers’ profiles on the site. I contacted a few writers and vice versa, but we were able to tell almost immediately that our tastes weren’t a fit. Then along came this writer, who pores over Celtic folklore like I do and loves to mask a good fairytale archetype with a better setting and higher stakes. I’m so glad she found me!

So what changed me from the one dragging my feet all the way to the game to the one waving that ridiculous “We’re #1!” foam hand? Here are a couple of things I’ve loved about the Critique Partner setup:

Having a Critique Partner spurs my creative momentum. We both have a vested interest, so it’s easier not to get sidetracked working on manuscripts. And it’s like Christmas when I get the notification that there are a new set of her chapters waiting for me.

There’s a sense of fairness when it comes to constructive criticism. Every writer knows that concrit smarts. I mean, who wants to be told something negative about one’s child of script? And telling someone else the flaws in his/her story is so much worse! But that honesty is necessary to correct what’s amiss in the tale. When we are both giving positive and negative feedback—both encouraging the strengths and highlighting what is lacking—it’s easier to take, and to bravely give, that negative stuff.

My CP continues to be thorough about analyzing my characters and their influences. She’s already pointed out inconsistencies in characterization, lack of action during dialogue, wordiness, incoherent mood transitions… She deserves a medal.

And you know what’s amazing? She makes comments after my critiques, like, “This is the kind of feedback I need! Thanks!” It’s so awesome to think I might be helping her as much as she is helping me.

Gushing finished.

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Author: Rilla Z

I'm a scribbler. I'm genuine. Sometimes I'm too genuine. My topics of interest are: this world, the worlds inside my head, and the world to come. Oh, and cups of tea. Yes, I write about my cups of tea.

7 thoughts on “This Skeptic Just Turned Avid Fan”

  1. I’m glad you are enjoying the experience. I definitely think it would be fun to collaborate under the right situation. It’ll be a while before I am there in skill and dedication. Plus it’ll also, like you said, take finding the right person. Great post…and gushing feels good sometimes. I swear I do it in my blog more than anything, but it just feels so (removed by Rilla) good to just get it out there.

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    1. Gushing often gets me into trouble. I have a tendency to be on a high with my writing in one breath and crash and burn in the next. I want to be realistic, and it doesn’t seem realistic to tell all about my good times and ‘no comment’ on the bad. I’m grateful to God for my artistic temperament, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for me to swallow my pride and vocalize my rocky, drowning-in-the-torrents side in a blog post. :/ That’s one reason I think I get a ton out of your blog. You’re very open about what you’re going through along the journey. Thanks for that.

      Btw, I edited your comment. You might have missed it (my blurb about comments is small, I know), but I don’t approve profanity on my blog. I still appreciate your encouraging thoughts.

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      1. That’s cool. I understand, didn’t notice but I probably threw out a ‘D’ didn’t I? Sorry about that. I’ll keep it under reigns in the future.

        And yes, my wife hates it but I often air my dirty laundry. I’ve got nothing to hide, I am who I am and sometimes I just don’t really care who sees it. I like to think its a positive trait. My wife highly disagrees.

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  2. You can’t beat having a good critter or beta reader. They are worth their weight in gold. Yes, even the nicest wording stings the ego, but good writers know it’s a necessary step in the creative process. Glad you found someone you can work with!

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    1. I’ve been very blessed with good betas in the past. I can see now that there’s been a gentle climb from general support for my craft to directly honing my skill. Yeah, I guess concrit never quits stinging, but it does get easier, at least!

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  3. So glad to see you are having a great experience with a critique partner. I find it easier to find flaws in writings whose author is not someone I see face to face. I’m a coward that way.

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    1. It’s not cowardly, Mom O. It’s supportive. I have no doubt God handpicked you to help me grow because of your supportive nature. And I’m thankful to have you in my life, and thankful for what you continue to teach me. 🙂

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