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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Writer, A Sister and Three Teachers...

Its been said that writing is a solitary act...that it must be done alone. Well, maybe this statement is true for a large part of the writing process, but I've learned throughout this little journey that writers can't do it alone.

We all need help.

Before you sign with an agent, before an editor picks up your manuscript, your work needs to be seen. The thought of this is terrifying I know, but it is a necessary evil.

I used to hide away in my little writing hole scribbling incessantly on my manuscript with no plans for any other human eyes to see it but my own. And then the day came that I sent a little snippet of something I had been working on to my sister. She immediately called me back asking questions. You see she was the first person to ever know what I was up to. So she became my first critic. I'd send her work, she'd go over it with a fine tooth comb and then send it back to me.

Now I have an even larger circle of betas or critics...whatever you want to call them. Four who are non-writers...my sister and three co-workers who are avid readers and don't hold back on their opinions. If something is off, they let me know. My final beta is a fabulous writer in her own right. You all know her, the fabulous Lindsay over at Adventures in Writing. She goes through and finds all the embarrassing little mistakes that I manage to miss no matter how many times I edit my ms. Did I mention that I love adverbs? Oh yeah...she fixes those as well. She also gives me priceless feedback about things that might be unclear or ideas I hadn't even thought about.

So as you can see, all of the help is absolutely worth the torment of having an outside source read your work. If you don't have crit partners. Get them. If you haven't had someone else read your work. Find someone. You won't be sorry.

Still unconvinced? The best place to start if your a little nervous is querytracker. This site is a must have resource for writers at all stages of the process. Go to the forum and there is a thread where you can post the first five pages of your manuscript for others to review. The members are honest and positive.

So there you have it, a little peek into the method of my madness. Any tips on how you whip that WIP into shape? I'd love to hear them!

16 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I've been lucky with finding some amazing people to beta read or crit for me. My writing has improved because of it.

I've never used the 5-page-crit forum found on numerous websites, mostly because I'm afraid I'll end up spending several hours on one person's piece and no one will crit mine in return. I've had that happen before with my query. The person who's query I critted didn't bother to crit mine.

Candyland said...

Feedback from trusted readers is VERY important. It's impossible to grow and learn without hearing everything WRONG with your work, lol.

Becky Taylor said...

I remember my first experience with my critique group...I was terrified driving to that meeting. But here we are, 8 years later...

I'm a better writer and I have thicker skin to show for it.

Jess said...

I found my critique group at a conference, and their feedback has been SO helpful!

aspiring_x said...

i have an excellent crit partner and a newer gal i'm starting to trust (i'm kinda phobic about people seeing my earlier drafts of writing... or writing in general:/)
but i had a terrible crit partner for a few months...
finding the right people is key!
i'm glad you have such a good crew!

Quinn said...

The first person to read my work (my novel) was a friend from college. I had spent the past 3 years talking to her while I was planning it out. So when I finally started writing it, she got the first chapter the second I was finished. She read each chapter as I finished it and offered critique. With the second book, my mom and friend each got the chapters as I finished them and offered critique and opinions. I also had a writer/blogger friend read it after the whole thing was finished.

Having other people read your stuff is really important.

Chris Phillips said...

I love query tracker. I'm glad you pointed me in that direction.

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Aww. I said it before, but you know I <3 you. Plus it freaks me out how I was exactly the same as you before I started. No one was going to see my MS but me. lol.

But you are right, all the help is worth it. Sure we get nervous, but the benefits of improving the MS, support and friendship are so worth it!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for your suggestions. I agree having critique partners is vital. I so lose perspective on my own work. I'm glad I have a group to help me.

Colene Murphy said...

I'm with you. I started all lonerish but then quickly figured out nothing would go anywhere if it were just left to me!
Great post!

Jules Ausborn said...

Friends, readers, sisters, bloggers, they're an amazing source to us as writers. They are sweet, willing and can also be honest even when you aren't ready for it.

I may be a loner while I write the story, but afterwards I need all the help I can get to perfect it!

Wonderful post!!! Happy Thursday Girly!

Jen/Jules
Unedited & Jules and the Stars

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Those betas are so important! And such gems. I used to hide my work from one and all, but really, if you want your work to be read by an audience, than you should be able to let it be read by anyone, right? But a good beta is worth a fortune.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

Great points, Renae. I've been blessed with great people to travel the writing road with over the last few years. It's always so nerve-wracking to send your work out, even to people you trust. I'm slowly getting braver. But your advice is great. You really can't improve without being willing to put yourself out there!

Amy

Lisa said...

You're lucky to have friends who give you good advice! I've gotten the best advice from fellow writers online. It's so great to meet other people one here who are in the same boat and need some help, too :)

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I say many thanks to the father of the website admin I read this, because at this website I know a lot of information information that I did not know before his

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Obat Pengencang Payudara Tanpa Efek Samping
Vitamin Penambah Stamina Pria
Obat Herbal Penyubur Sperma
Suplemen Untuk Tulang
Cara Mengatasi Kemandulan Untuk Pria Dan Wanita
obat Penurun Berat Badan Tanpa Efek Samping
Cara Mengatasi Kemandulan
Cream Jerawat Herbal Alami
Pengobatan Autoimun Herbal