May 9, 2013 by Jen Cudmore
I’ve never met a writing professional who said “Don’t bother having anyone else critique your story.” In fact, most of them encourage getting a second opinion, especially from an editor or coach. Even best-selling authors have someone else look through their work before it’s published! While self-editing is essential in writing, little typos or character motivation details are easy to overlook because the author sees them there even when they aren’t.
And when you’re new at creating story, feedback is crucial.
After I completed the rough draft of my first Lawmen novel, I submitted a couple chapters to three separate professionals. In the beginning I had a hard time wrapping my head around the tips they gave me. I learned a great deal from those critiques, the biggest being that I had left out some details needed to give the reader a well-rounded picture of the settings and action. Of course, I could see it all in my head so I wasn’t confused, but the reader potentially would have gotten lost. Often.
At first, I was one of those folks who didn’t think an editor was necessary. After all, I’d studied hard to learn the craft, I had gone through my manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, and I’d gotten advice from three professionals. However, when I failed to get any bites on my book at one conference I attended, I decided I might as well give a coach a try. It was one of the best decisions of my writing journey. She helped me analyze each scene and tighten the themes and character arcs throughout the novel.
Attending classes and reading articles/books about story are essential to the new writer but they don’t compare to a real critique on your writing. Have you received any feedback on your story?