Don’t leap to read the critique

Posted: July 21, 2014 in writing
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday I got feedback from everwalker on the draft of the novel I’m working on, Fire in the Blood. This is the first time I’ve had feedback from anyone on a draft of the whole story, and though I was nervous about what I’d read – a good critique should be at least a little uncomfortable to hear, as it reveals things you could do better – I was also quite keen to dive into it.

I stopped myself.

Why? Because this is only one perspective, and if I read that one perspective in isolation it may skew what I take from the others. There are five people reading this draft for me, and as far as it’s practical I want to read their comments at the same time, to get a balanced and varied point of view.

I know that this is going to be insightful and helpful feedback, because everwalker is an insightful and helpful person who really knows her writing. But I don’t want to take it in on its own.

So now those documents are sitting on my computer, like presents beneath the Christmas tree, and I have to wait to unwrap them. I’m pretty excited.

I'm not implying that everwalker's a stormtrooper, but she sure is handy with a blaster. I, on the other hand, am clearly a beautiful princess.

I’m not implying that everwalker’s a stormtrooper, but she sure is handy with a blaster.
I, on the other hand, am clearly a beautiful princess.


Meanwhile on to other things. I’m trying to polish off the biographies of British monarchs I’ve been working on for weeks, and a science fiction story whose first draft was a bit of a horrible rush – that’s one edit I’m not looking forward to.

How about the rest of you? What are you writing this week?


Picture by Pascal via Flickr creative commons.

  1. Jared says:

    An interesting idea. I’m always hungry for feedback so I dive right into comments, let them sit, read them again. I pretty much have them memorized before I’m ready to do any serious revisions.

    It’s like the cooldown period when writing something. You have to draw some distance between yourself and the work to be a bit more objective.

    To answer the question at the end: I’m finishing my thesis, and writing two final papers (one on Austen, one on 20th century Am lit). Which means I’ll really be working on a novel and sending out some shorts…

    • Good to know that you’ve got your priorities sorted writing-wise. Is the thesis literature-related too?

      • Jared says:

        Oh, yes. It’s a look at how, specifically, the speculative short fiction market offers benefits to new writers. There’s a lot of great market data on acceptance rates, etc, geared toward helping demystify publishing for new writers, so maybe I’ll put it all together for the interwebs once it’s all done.

        • That’s fascinating. There’s a long tradition of accepting that short story publications are a good career start for speculative writers, but given the decline of circulation for short story magazines I’m inclined to doubt that it’s still true. Seeing some data and proper analysis would be useful for all involved.

          • Jared says:

            It’s all about the networking, really. It’s practically impossible to get any financial boon from it, but if you engineer it right (so the hypothesis goes), a few good short sales can build up some kind of network. At the very least it’s a good way to meet more aspiring writers.

            I had originally thought the genre community would make it easier, but finding good betas and writing groups is a totally separate animal! Still working on that one…

            • That makes sense. Like so many activities writers undertake – writing a blog, to take the glaringly obvious example – it’s about the connections you make with other writers and an audience, and the long term benefits those bring.

  2. jhmae says:

    Crits can be rough, but once you get used to feedback, I find they’re like water off a duck’s back. You have a great idea though – one bad crit, by itself, can really piss you off or have you smashing your computer.

    And your question – finally finishing up structural edits on my novella. And soon to be fishing for beta readers myself.

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