Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tipsy Tuesday

Before any of my manuscripts pass in front of an editor, they've been thoroughly critiqued by my kick-ass critique group. Here's my advice for the day: have someone other than your best friend, sister or mother read your story. While they may very well be more than qualified to provide helpful critiques, the odds are higher that they're more biased than they are qualified and may not be as honest as you need.

The solution? Get into a critique group with people who are writers, preferably those who write (or at the very least read) the type of story you've written. If your town has writing groups that meet (like the Society of Southwestern Authors or Romance Writers of America here in Tucson), join them. Take advantage of the fact that there are lots of other people in the same boat as you.

Having said that, keep in mind that it's your story. Once you get past the "remove this comma" and "it should be they're, not their" and the comments start dealing with scenes and story elements, take what you can use and leave behind the rest. If someone thinks you need to lose a scene and you want to keep it, then keep it. (Of course, be prepared for your editor to tell you that the scene doesn't work and please get rid of it. At that point, unless the scene is extremely pivotal to your plot, say goodbye to it.)

One thing is true. While you can rely on others to make your story better, you can't rely on others to make you work harder or feel better about your work. No matter how many times or how many people tell you your writing is brilliant, it never will be if you don't believe it is. (Without an ego, of course. It's entirely possible to think that you're a good writer without being egotistical about it. No one likes a diva.)

So...write on!


Colleen Love said...

Thank you Sherrill! Great tips!!


Sherrill Quinn said...

You're welcome, Colleen. :)

Anonymous said...

Excellent advice from an obviously skilled scribe. Thanks for the tip Sherrill!

Sherrill Quinn said...

You're quite welcome, turnthetablesdj. And thanks for stopping by!