Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I Love My Critique Group

After bailing out of NaNoWriMo at about 22,000 words, I submitted the first three rough draft chapters to my critique group. The feedback, as always, was varied and one member didn't always agree with another, but the biggest flaws in that frantic grasping at words floated to the top.

I did my first rewrite of the first two chapters at my computer in my freezing cold office, using the written comments from the group where I agreed with the suggestions. Then I set it aside for a few days.

Monday morning I attended a couple of hours of Northern Colorado Writers second monthly write-in, picked the sunny table by the window where I could glance up at the mountains from time to time while staying warm, and with pen and paper, made more revisions.

Then I went home home, added my changes to the manuscript, and read it all again. I have to say, those two chapters are so much better.

My critique group allows a member to submit revised chapters only one time so we don't end up critiquing the same submission over and over. I'm taking my re-submission option for these two critical first chapters right away.

My goal for this book is to completely change my method. My last manuscript is resting. It's sitting on the desk with a big pile of critiques I haven't processed yet. That's a big job for a few months down the road.

For this new book, I'm going to revise as I go. It's not my usual process, but sometimes I need to change my way of living (or writing). Change (and my critique group) keeps me on my toes.

If you're a writer, do you belong to a critique group? What have you changed lately in your life (especially your writing life)?


Margot Kinberg said...

Pat - I'm so glad you have the support of a critique group. I think writers need that support. Oh, and it's interesting you mention learning to revise as you go. I do that, and (at least for me) it's worked. I'll be really interested to see how that process works for you.

Patricia Stoltey said...

I'm hoping it will be less work in the long run, Margot. I have a couple of first drafts sitting around my office doing nothing because I know they need lots of revision and I know it will be a lot of work. Writing a new idea is lots more fun.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I have a critique group I can attend when I have time. I put a heater in my cold office for the winter and it makes it so comfy I like spending time there.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Time to try something new!
I don't have a critique group, just critique partners. And they are always a big help.
Right now I am doing a lot more research than for any other book. I could tell you all you ever wanted to know about sea kelp...

Patricia Stoltey said...

Susan, I have that heater in my closet. It's coming out today.

Sea kelp. Tell me more, Alex. :D