Friday, September 28, 2007

What do you want from a critique?

I think it's important to know what you want out of a crit group. I belong to 3, but on one of them we rarely crit these days. Still, I wouldn't miss it for the world. We're getting on with our careers, and a lot of what we do is to support each other.

Another is for erotic stories that go over the m/f not graphic rules set up at the large crit group I belong to. Hugely helpful. Most of us there are about the same level, and we pretty much know what we're looking for when we ask for crits (eg does it flow, have I got the pov right, etc) And the other is a big general group. A very good list, but there are writers at all levels there.

I have found that if I crit a newbie and I'm less than kind, I'm resented, as if it's my fault the work sucks. And when the writer finds a publisher (you can pretty much get a publisher these days if you can string a couple of words together) I get the 'nyah' response. So I'm careful who I crit there. Because I crit to publishable standards, ie something that might have a chance with one of the bigger epublishers or New York.

So decide what you want. And it's not a bad idea to ask for what you want, the areas you find troublesome or you need help with. I think the top of every sub should have the genre, the length of the book (ie novel, novella, category, not a specific word length) and perhaps the areas the writer wants critted. And if she wants to submit to a big house, or is happy to start with smaller pubs (as I did, btw. Nothing wrong in learning the ropes that way as long as you don't then think you're God's gift to publishing!)

For a very long time I was happy to write for me and a few friends, it was my hobby and my way of relaxing. Now it's very different, with a new kind of emphasis. I'm asking people to fork out their hard-earned for one of my books, so I can no longer afford indulgences I used to enjoy (like long, lingering descriptions of scenery and the like).

I just got my edits for my first release with Ellora's Cave. I'm telling you if you can't stand the relatively gentle heat of the crit group, you aren't going to last five minutes in the wider world of publishing! This book is sliced and diced and it makes me so happy to have an editor who will take the time to go through it in minute detail to help me make a better book!

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