This week you guys get treated to another rant. Yes, I know I complain a lot. I’ll think of a happier post next week. This post, however, is about online critique groups.
While trying to get my second novel published I had one particular publisher give me a lot of feedback. She said she liked my story, but thought it needed some polish. After a couple failed attempts at getting a satisfactory rewrite she recommended I join an online critique group. I’m not going to name the website because that’s just not nice.
So I join this online group and read some decent stories and do my best to hand out some helpful information. In return I get some good information back, along with some not so helpful information and one terrible person. I had one reviewer tear my story to pieces after declaring that he wasn’t even very proficient with my genre. None of the review was helpful, it was just a bashing that concluded with him telling me I am unoriginal…ouch. I took a deep breath and moved on.
I ended up meeting a fellow writer who was looking to exchange an entire story as opposed to just segments on the website. We exchanged a few chapters before calling it quits and her advice was well worded. The only problem was she didn’t seem to grasp my story or my humor. She didn’t understand a lot of the jokes and she said so. That wasn’t a bad thing, but it wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. She did have a couple very good suggestions that I used though.
I think critiquing was helpful to a point, but as a new writer struggling to find my own voice it seemed like I had too many other people telling me what to do. Too many other people that were, in some cases, just as inexperienced as me. I have a couple test readers now, and would be open to adding a couple more if the opportunity presented itself. I think this works well for me, but everyone is a little different.
Fellow writers, how do you feel about strangers critiquing your work?
Beloved readers, live prosperous and long live the ace of spades…or something like that.