Okay, so a few weeks ago I had mentioned critique groups in my post. Sooo many of you have asked me why critique groups are so important (okay, only one of you, but humor me). Here, my dear friends, are the many sorted answers from my brain.
I started a book in April and finished it in June (Yes, three quick months). I took it with me to a writer’s conference to have it looked over. The first question I received was, “Don’t you have a critique group?” Unfortunately, that book is sitting on my computer, lost in files of, “What was I thinking?”
I took a creative writing course at the university. Within the first or second units, our teacher asked each of us form a critique group. I did, thinking I would only work in the group for a few months while I finished my class. I’m still in that critique group. LOVE YOU GUYS! I’m bringing the cookies next week!
Why? Why would they ask me if I was involved with critique group? Why would my teacher suggest a critique group? Because critique groups are invaluable!
I can not tell you how many times I have written something that made sense to me, but not the reader. Words were misspelled (hee hee, all the time), or I had the wrong word instead of the right one (steal, steel – just because they sound the same, doesn’t mean they are the same, people!), and let’s not forget that sneaky structure problem we all sometimes have. I was on my way to the store ….when BAM….I ended up at the circus. Completely off the path of my story.
Sometimes my critique group has told me things that wouldn’t work in my piece – Remember the horse thing a couple of weeks ago? If not… you can’t ride a horse backwards, not without your knowledge. If you try and you end up looking at the wrong end of a horse that was supposed to be the front, let me know. We could have a few giggles.
That information was priceless! Could you imagine all the laughs I would have gotten if I hadn’t change it? Thanks L.T.E. :)
Yes, when you read your work, it will sound right to you, because, let’s face it - in your mind you know what is going on. You know the history of your book, you know what the characters in your book are thinking or feeling. Sometimes those ideas don’t get across to the reader. Why is she kissing him? Didn’t she just send an arrow flying through the air towards his chest?
Did you know that most professional writers have a critique group? Yes, even they make mistakes (I love and praise them for it).
So that’s it. Critique groups are Invaluable! Well, they are. Oh, and when you go to that first group, remember to take your security blanket. There will be shedding of tears. Don’t worry, the tears will last longer if your manuscript is horrid.