I'm pleased to have fellow TWRP romance author, Barbara Bettis here today sharing on a topic I high recommend ... critique groups.
Be sure to check out her newest release!
Let’s Hear It for Critique Groups
I’m in the midst of edits on my second medieval and each week, I take a section back to my critique group. The members have seen it at every step of the writing process and yet, on this last go-through, they’re finding things that had slipped past all those other times.
We’re doing the same last-edit run-through for another member’s book, her third. And as with mine, although we’ve been through her chapters at least twice before, this final time we still find points to clarify.
In this final go-round, the crit process is different. Now we’re into the polishing stage. Of course, only the author can do that final polish, but crit partners who know each other’s voice can be of immeasurable help. Tuesday afternoon, we discussed a particular word in my friend’s manuscript. Would another better represent the message she wanted to convey? Would still a third work to alter the rhythm (cadence) of a sentence to better transmit the feeling she intended?
Silly? We don’t think so. As Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” We may not always get it right, but it’s not for lack of trying. Working together (brainstorming, checking a word’s origin, analyzing whether the particular character would have “said that”), we found a phrase that she thought better reflected the character, the time, and the situation.
Only other writers understand the drive to get the wording exactly right. And it’s easier when you have someone to bounce ideas off of. Now, critique groups don’t sit around all day debating esoteric word choices. J They offer advice and insight on whatever the individual writer needs. Characterization? Plot and story arc? GMC? All those and many other things.
That’s why I firmly believe in the importance of critique groups or partners. Not every writer thinks they’re important, and that’s fine. Whatever works for the individual. But I highly recommend them. They’re especially helpful for someone who’s starting on a writing career.
A partner or a group also can help answer basic grammar, structure and development questions. You know, the kinds of things we all need to master so our stories can be understood.
True, finding the right critique partners or group isn’t always easy. Not every group is one in which you’ll remain. But when you find the right combination, it’s unbelievably helpful.
Right now, I’m lucky enough to have found two wonderful groups.
My particular weekly crit group has been together for years. We’ve become friends, but the friendship doesn’t interfere with the sometimes painfully honest evaluations we give each other’s work. We’re all published—all but one, who could be if she’d only submit!
The second is an online critique coterie of historical authors whose expertise is fantastic. They provide great insight, total honesty, and unequivocal support.
So if you don’t have a critique group or at least a critique partner, you might consider looking for one that’s a good fit for you. It might take a bit of searching, but I firmly believe it will be worth it.
Good luck and happy writing!
He’s everything a proper lady should never want; she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Sir Giles has come to England to kill his father, who seduced and betrayed his mother. First, however, he’ll seek sweet revenge—kidnap the old lord’s new betrothed. But when Giles uncovers a plot against King Richard, he faces a dilemma: take the lady or track the traitors. What’s a good mercenary to do? Both, of course.
Lady Emelin has had enough. Abandoned in a convent by her brother, she finally has a chance for home and family. Yet now she’s been abducted. Her kidnapper may be the image of her dream knight, but she won’t allow him to spoil this betrothal. Her only solution: escape
Rescuing the intrepid lady—while hunting traitors—is a challenge Giles couldn’t anticipate. But the greatest challenge to Giles and Emelin is the fire blazing between them. For he’s everything a proper lady should never want, and she’s everything a bastard mercenary can never have.
Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she briefly considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math.
She now lives in Missouri, where by day she’s a mild-mannered English teacher, and by night she’s an intrepid plotter of tales featuring heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.