Thursday, March 7, 2013

Critique Partner Adventures of the Nitpickasaurus

I've been looking for a Critique Partner as I do my Out Loud Revision pass, using and Twitter. Both have brought me results of a sort.

There have been a few Critique Partners that I've exchanged chapters with (usually the first 3), and I've done my best to be fair and honest while critiquing their work. I'm always afraid I'll come off as a jerk or some sort of Nitpickasaurus. Given the evidence, my specific critique style is most definitely NOT for everyone.

I'm ok with that, as long as everyone who lets me see their stuff realizes I'm critiquing the WORK and NOT them. It's a hard separation to make as a writer, as our work is so much of us laid bare. It's our time, effort, love/hate/happiness/anger/lust, and a bit of our soul on those pages.

The key, I find, is to always keep the goal of critiquing firmly in mind, both when going over someone else's work, or reading their notes on your own. That goal is to help the writer become better at the craft, and to help them make that manuscript the absolute awesomest it can possibly be. I'll throw in the odd bit of "best practices" I've picked up from others in an effort to help on some of the pain points. There are some really helpful people out there doing podcasts and articles, etc. I'll link a few at the bottom of the post.

With that in mind, I try my hardest to give a critique without stepping on a writer's voice or style. It's not my business to tell someone what to write, or even how to write. I just try to tell them where what they've written doesn't work for me, isn't clear, or doesn't flow well. I may even catch the odd bit of problem grammar or spelling (though not as often as I probably should).

Well, whether I am a jerk, or a Nitpickasaurus, or some other hell-spawn made flesh to torment other writers, I've found at least one CP who doesn't run screaming for holy water at my mark-up notes on their work!

Colten Hibbs, say hello to my thousands (x .001) of blog readers! Colton has a wonderful writing voice and a good sense of character, and I look forward to both of us helping the other develop as writers.

I have a few other CPs lined up for when they're ready, and I'm really looking forward to seeing their stuff too. I'm still quite nervous about letting others see my work, but that's part of the deal. I still have an awful lot to learn.

- Alex


There are many more out there if you look around (and several other people's blogs that I follow) that I haven't listed here.

1 comment:

  1. Floored! You are so kind to mention me, and I am certain that our critique partnership will yield fantastic results.
    To those who may read this and be seeking a CP: someone like Alex is a nearly priceless resource. Though his critique of my opening chapters was pleasant and complimentary, it was also honest. You want your CP to look at your MS with what I like to call "Agent Eyes". You want your CP to be merciless! Things can Always be improved during the writing process. I'm much more curious about what is wrong instead of what is right. Because I can fix it! Don't be scared of criticism, be excited for the opportunity to improve! If you can't handle a CP consider your reaction when an editor suggests changes to your MS. Say you get all the way to PUBLISHED and your book is panned; the CP stage is where you want a Tell It Like It Is advocate, let them rip it to pieces so you can put it back together, and fix all the flaws so you have Readers who will love it.
    Alex has a phenomenal critical eye, and anyone fortunate enough to merit his time to evaluate their manuscript will benefit from his observation.

    Kind Thoughts and Happy Writing to you,

    P.S. - Thanks Alex!