Catch the wind

Catch the wind

Sunday, December 05, 2010

...critique stuff

i hear lots of stuff about how getting what we write critiqued and making sure we get a really good cp (critique partner) could be a really big help on making our stuff lots better. i got a really nice cp but i gotta tell you the truth is i got lots of questions cause for sure i dont know so much about critiques or being a good critiquer and i wanna be a really good one. so whos the best person i could ask? my cool cp! and thats miss sharon at random thoughts. its pretty nice she took time to answer stuff for me. im sharing it with you cause maybe it could help you too.

heres what i asked and what she said…
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1. is a critique more different than a review?
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It's very different than a book review, because you are trying to help the writer improve his/her story. In a book review you are summarizing the story and telling why you liked or didn't like the book.
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2. does a critique mean you gotta check all that grammar and punctuation stuff?
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By the time you send your manuscript out for a critique you should have all your spelling, punctuation and grammar problems fixed. It doesn't mean your cp won't find a mistake, but you don't want them to have to look at little things like that when they are spending time on your manuscript. You'd rather they spent time telling you if something didn't make sense or wasn't logical.
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3. does a cp do any editing?
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I think that a good cp critiques and edits without thinking about it. I know all my cps do. If they think of a better word than I have, they suggest it. I'm always open to suggestions. I'll use them as long as I think they are better than what I said and I think they sound like me. It's important to not forget to NOT lose your voice.
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4. how come we could need someone to critique our stuff?
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We ask people to critique for us because it makes our work stronger. We are beginners and we are learning by helping each other. Just like reading a book, it's another tool to improve your writing skills. Even seasoned authors have agents who are kind of like their critique partners...Although some, like Steve Swinburne, don't have an agent or a cp.
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5. how come some people got more than just one cp?
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One reason to have more than one cp is to get a variety of points of view (POV). I find it really interesting when I send something out to a group of people and they all see different things that could be improved in different ways.
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6. what could you want from your cp that could help you make your stuff better
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It helps me when a cp tells me how they feel about a piece or a character or a scene. Was the character too predictable? Was the character too perfect? Was the bad guy too bad? Is the storyline believable? Did the story touch your heart? (that depends on the type of story) Did the timeline make sense? Did the main character grow or change in some way? Was the character consistent throughout the story? (ie he had brown hair, picked his nose, liked monkeys and had a crush on Sally) Did they live on Drew Street all along? Did the writer change the name of the main character (mc) by accident mid story? Does something not make sense to the reader?
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You want your cp to question you. I ask questions all the time when I'm critiquing someone’s work. If a cp just says your writing is wonderful, you need to get a new cp.
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When I'm critiquing I jot down my thoughts and emotions as I read as well as other comments so that the writer can see what emotions are evoked in me. You want your reader to connect with your story emotionally on some level. I want the author to know when I LOL or when I cry.
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7. is their anything else on critiquing you could want to say
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It's really important to remember that your critique partner is giving suggestions. It's your story and you have to stay true to it and to your voice. You can take the advice you think fits with your voice and dismiss the rest. You always want your story to sound like you. (That's my opinion anyway.)
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BIG THANKS miss sharon! now for sure i could know more about critiquing and im gonna work on being a really good critiquer!
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what do you think could be a big help for you from a cp or a critique?
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…hugs from lenny

p s ...today december 6th is my cp's birthday!  happy birthday miss sharon!

34 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday Miss Sharon!

    Lenny, these are fantastic questions, thanks for asking them.

    I'm not ready for a cp yet, but, hopefully, I will be soon.

    You have a great week!

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  2. happy birthday miss sharon!!!!
    one of the things i've found most helpful from my cp is pacing! with her help i cut about twelve unneccessary, dragging pages from the beginning of one of my WIPs. now the beginning is WAY more interesting! :)

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  3. Lenny, you did good in asking these questions. People don't always know the things to ask, but you were able to narrow it down so we can all learn more about the importance of having a good critique partner. Thank you for the questions you asked and for sharing the ansers. Great job.

    ~ Yaya

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  4. wow, great post, lenny. i think it's so important to have a cp. it gives us other opinions on our manuscript before the paying readers get hold of it.

    cd

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  5. Hi Lenny .. first - how lovely of you to "Bannerise Miss Sharon's Birthday" .. it's not a word - please don't use it!!

    Happy Birthday Sharon ..

    and Critique Partners .. I reckon you're very lucky with your blogging friends and especially Miss Sharon and your family - having great advisers.

    The post is excellent - a good reminder of how much help we need when we're writing!!

    Enjoy your week .. happy times .. Hilary

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  6. What a great post Lenny! I love my critique partners, they help me so much! Its like a treasure really. A friend of mine used to say Feedback is always a gift!
    Happy Birthday to miss Sharon! =)

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  7. Happy Birthday Miss Sharon!
    Lenny I love my CP and miss Sharon is right some of us are plot ninjas, while others are grammar heroes, by the time a story is passed around you can be sure it has been refined from all critical angles.
    Another invaluable thing i do with my CPs is brainstorm, if i come up with an idea for a book, i discuss it with them and they can tell me if my idea works or not.
    Lastly a good CP does not 4get to praise their other CPs when they improve on their writing skills.

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  8. Thanks for this great post on critiquing and critique partners, Lenny!

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  9. Happy Birthday to Miss Sharon.
    Great questions, lenny. I love my CPs. They teach me so much.

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  10. Awww, thanks for the birthday banner Lenny! You made my heart warm up on this cold winter day!

    Thank you everyone for the birthday wishes!

    Lenny did a great job coming up with questions about what makes a good cp. I'm so glad he is one of my cps. Who could ask for a better cp? He's a great writer, very creative and he's a kid! I don't think you could get a better combination if you mixed one up in a bowl.

    Thanks, Lenny and I hope you stay warm today!

    (((HUG)))

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  11. Happy Birthday Miss Sharon! Great post!

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  12. I love my crit partner. She does a really good job analyzing my stuff and telling me what works and what doesn't work. Plus she listens to me whine. =) Great post Lenny! Thanks for the info. =D

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  13. Great post, Lenny! Thanks to Miss Sharon for answering all these questions. And Happy Birthday to her, too. :)

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  14. Great questions Lenny and thanks for sharing the answers with us. I find it helpful to have more than one critique partner sometimes. I notice people catch different things. :)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  15. Those are very smart questions, Lenny! You chose a great CP - Sharon is a wise writer. She'll be lots of help to you. :-)

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  16. The questions that you asked are very thoughtful, Lenny. And because they were so thoughtful you managed to get some great answers that explain the critiquing process.

    Excellent work.

    Jai

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  17. Terrific post Lenny & Sharon! Great guidelines for all crit buddies.

    Happy birthday, Sharon - hope you have a great day! :)

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  18. Love this Lenny. BTW there is an award on my blog for you!

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  19. Thanks for passing on Sharon's answers, Lenny! Isn't she awesome???

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  20. Happy (late) Birthday Sharon! This is great advice/analysis of critiquing and I completely agree.

    Thanks for sharing this with us Lenny!

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  21. You asked a lot of great questions! Thanks for sharing Sharon's answers!

    (Great explanations, Sharon! Happy belated birthday!)

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  22. Excellent post Lenny and Sharon! CP's are some of the most valuable people in the world. They take the lump of clay and shape it. At least for me.

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  23. Hi Lenny, great questions, and a really good interview with Sharon. I love my CPs, I don't know what I'd do without them!

    I'm new to your blog, just wanted to stop in and say hi (*waves*). It looks like a really cool place to hang out :)

    Rach

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  24. Great questions, Lenny. It was so nice of Miss Sharon to take the time to answer your questions. That is what is so nice about writers. They are willing to try and help out, if they can.

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    Happy belated birthday to Miss Sharon!

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  25. Happy Belated Birthday to your CP. I love mine too. They help with all sorts of things that I never see because I am too close to the story and when you find one who is always honest...well that makes it even better.

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  26. Great post Lenny and Sharon (and Happy Birthday Sharon!)
    This stuff is so important, I don't know what I'd do without my CPs!

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  27. How nice of Sharon to answer all those questions for you, Lenny, and it's really good to have a cp. You asked some good questions!

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  28. Looks like I was way late to the party! Happy Belated birthday to Sharon!!

    What fun questions and answers! Very informative! Thanks Lenny!!! :)

    Jen/Jules
    Unedited & Jules and the Stars

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  29. I missed Sharon's birthday. Happy belated birthday!

    You can also have a beta reader, who helps with just spelling and grammar. I've had my father-in-law do that for me. He doesn't know about the content of the story, but he knows how to polish sentences.

    Good luck with your writing, Lenny!

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  30. You and Sharon are both so cool! Thanks, Lenny. You're right: critique partners are important. Most of all, I love a cp who will still be my friend, yet honestly tell me what they think is wrong with a project.

    *hugs* to you and Sharon!!!!

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  31. I forgot to tell you how much I love the art work you put with Project Give a Book, Give the World. It's awesome, thank you! Where did you find it?

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  32. What great questions (and answers)! And I'm glad you have such a great cp as Miss Sharon! :) Finding those special people is a wonderful part of being a writer.

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  33. Happy Birthday to Miss Sharon! She is very awesome. Great thoughts on critiquing, and I agree with all of them. :)

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whatever wonderful, warm, witty and wise words you manage to come up with!