Monday, December 12, 2011

Critiquing and the Percolator

One of the reasons I enjoy critiquing the writing of others is because it helps me make my own writing better. Yep, I'm selfish like that. Not only do I find it so much easier to point out the things that bug me or that just don't feel quite right in other people's work, but it then makes me think about those exact things when I'm writing. I've become paranoid that if I happen to post a chapter for critique, that same person might read it and call me out on the same issues I've recently harped on them about. My inner editor is armed with a steel ruler and she's not afraid to use it!

Beyond that, in the conversations often struck up after a critique, things I've been percolating on my own writing sometimes hit me. As they did today. I'd been working with someone on a troublesome opening chapter. In the back of my mind, it occurred to me that I had a novel with an opening chapter that had a very similar problem--the tension fizzled by the end of the chapter. It wrapped up too neatly instead of leading into chapter two.

Hours after this virtual conversation, I was out racing from one thing to the next (my overachiever scale back plan doesn't activate for months yet), and a lightbulb went off. I now have the answer to what I need to add to the first chapter of a novel that I haven't touched in over two years to make it work! Swan Queen, there is hope for you yet!

*insert evil laughter and much milking of the giant cow* And if you have no idea what that means, go read this.


  1. I know I suffer from wrapping chapters up too neatly too. Something I'm trying to deal with in my latest round of edits. That lightbulb moment is a great feeling, isn't it?

  2. It sure is. There is certainly something to be said for creating distance from your own work. Two years of distance seems a little crazy, but hey, if it works... ;)

  3. I agree. It can be a two-way street. I have learned so much from one particular critique partner. She's a jewel.


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