Friday, August 7, 2009

Okay, so now you have the novel written - what do you do?

You have this great story written and can't wait to share it with the world. You should share it. It's probably a fabulous story, but I might hazard a word of caution:

Find a critique partner.

Sounds easy... doesn't it? Not really. I mean this in the best of ways, but your first draft, no matter who you are, is never perfect. Neither is your sixth or seventh. There will always be little tweaks.

But that aside, you want someone to look over your work. Who should critique your work? Not your best friend and not your mom. As much as they love you, they love you and their opinions have a good possibility of being towards the nice side. Okay, okay, so that sounds snarky. What I mean is, your mom should love whatever you do because she's your mom. Your best friend may tell you your work is great and really mean that its good with room for improvement, but because they don't want to hurt your feelings, they may color their comments accordingly.

That being said, your best friend may also be the bluntly honest point of view you need. If so, that's great, but you can always use another opinion. Would you believe even the editors sometimes use another person to look at your work? It's true. Why? Because what they may think is fab, may be with a little help. The second and third person may see things that will make the work smoother or (in my case) find the big one (that one mistake that's a big killer to the story, like that she had one piercing in her left brow in chapter three and then later in chapter ten you put it in her right brow... oops!).

Critique partners want to see you succeed, but they also want to help you make your work shine. It may make your stomach churn to read that your "baby" isn't the best you think it is, but when you make the changes and it BECOMES the story is should be, well, that's a heady feeling.

But enough of my soapbox. I'll touch on the importance of editors later. And yes, IMHO, editors are VERY necessary.



Marianne Arkins said...

I had great CPs for many years. Now? Not so much, mostly because I don't have time to reciprocate effectively.

I will say this: with my fabulous CPs (several of whom are now published with NY publishers - YAY!) I NEVER would have gotten published. I don't think anyone should write without them.

Wendi Zwaduk and Megan Slayer said...

I wasn't the only one who thought Cp's are great. But it is hard to find time to help sometimes... I agree, no one should write without a Cp.