Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Thursday's Children 12/21/12
Ideally, get more than one.
Just like agents, editors, and your eventual "audience", no two CPs/betas will have exactly the same reaction to your work.
CPs and Betas help you be the best writer you can be.
How do they do this?
1. Honesty- Seriously, who doesn't LOVE to be told their book is fabulous, unputdownable, etc., but that's what your family and friends are for. To make your book as good as possible, you have to know what needs tweaking, or even a major overhaul. Objective readers and other writers can provide feedback that is worth their weight in gold.
2. Thoughtful Suggestions- As valuable as it is to know what isn't working, sometimes you have no idea how to fix it. This is where a CP's suggestions come in. Even if you don't take the suggestion literally, it can lead to a brainstorm of your very own.
3. Positive comments- Just as you must know what fell flat, you also should know what made your CP cry, in a good way, of course, or laugh, also in a good way, or say "wow", or keep on reading despite the long list of other things she should be doing.
4. Attention to detail (For CPs, not betas)- This means actually paying close attention to what she's reading. For instance, I won a first chapter critique during a contest this fall. The person doing the crit complained that she didn't know by the end of the chapter whether the MC was "nine or nineteen".
Yet, on page 2 I'd very specifically written, "Worse than the day sixteen years ago when my mother died. I was a baby at the time and don’t remember it." Boom.
5. Sharing the joys and tears- of both writing and trying to become agented/published, or whatever your writing goal happens to be. Writing is, for the most part, a solitary pursuit.
Generally we're not able to do the prairie dog thing, pop up from our cubicle and fist-bump, or hand each other a tissue. So we do that via email, Facebook, Twitter... Cheering for contest wins, requests from agents, etc. And consoling each other when we don't even come close to winning the contest, or the agent rejects said request.
In some cases I've only read my CP's work, or they've only read mine, or we've just started an exchange...
But they are all people who inspire me to keep writing, to keep working at getting better, and whose own work and indomitable spirits inspire me.
I wish you, and all of Thursday's Children, the very best of holidays and a successful writing year ahead.
We're All In This Together. Alright, the acting might not have been brilliant, but there were some damn catchy tunes in this movie.
Kristina Perez whose critique partnership also led to Thursday's Children
And here's Mr. Bean to remind you to focus on the important things this holiday season. Children, chocolate, and getting a good night's sleep.
Here's the Linky List Code for your blog
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And here's the Linky List! Come join us! Tell me what you look for in a CP/Beta.