Friday, December 3, 2010

Critique Is Not A Four Letter Word

I haven't posted in a while and I have a good excuse reason. It's called editing! No, really, I'm sure if I forced myself I could come up with something to say, but I've been too busy trying not to get sucked into a black hole these days. Editing is not my favorite thing to do!

After my third round of ripping, tearing and shredding, I sent my wip over to a couple of trusted people to critique and have been wading through their comments.

I love hearing 'this part is great', or 'love this paragraph.' It gives me a warm tingly feeling inside. Right? However, warm tingly feelings do not a better writer make! It's the constructive criticism that really gets me fired up. The 'I don't get this' or 'this part doesn't fit.' If I want to further my skills, I must take it, consider it, and, if I agree, apply it.

Which I did, and it's exciting to see my wip getting better, my characters gaining depth, my plot becoming meatier. (Okay, maybe I don't loathe editing. Maybe.)

So, in the name of embracing criticism, I sent my baby off to a professional editor. I did this for a couple of reasons.

1. My critique people know me and might even love me ( a little ). And, though I totally trust that they are being honest and brave about letting me have it between the eyes, I'm not entirely certain that there isn't a bit of bias in those red comments. It's good to have someone who doesn't know me from Adam commit to giving me feedback.

2. I don't have a Masters in Creative Writing, or English. I know its not necessary to have a degree in order to be a good writer. I've taken a lot of courses on writing, and read a lot of books. But I thought it would be nice to invest in a professional opinion.

So I'm sitting around waiting for Mr. Editor to get back to me with lots of lovely red comments. I'd rather have my whole wip covered in red than a simple note that says, 'good job. keep trying.' Because that's when you know you really suck.

How about you? Do you enjoy editing, or is it something that makes the skin on the back of your neck get all crawly? Who do you get to critique your work?

1 comment:

Leonie Lemphers said...

I started a writing group. We meet once a month and read our work out, or provide print copies and everyone discusses it and gives feedback. I also have gone to several writing programs to workshop my work. It's all helpful in becoming better at critiquing my own work too.

However, I know the frustration of wanting to improve and not quite knowing where to start. I gained a lot from attending Piper's Frith in Newfoundland. The writing exercises Jessica Grant gave us opened many doors for me in things I could try and how to control the perspective of the reader.

As for editing... well, once I'm into it I really enjoy it. I especially enjoy having a product which is smoother and more finished and polished at the end. It can be daunting at times though.