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Sandra Harris with The Minefield of Critiquing!

We have author Sandra Harris  and she's got a giveaway of her Alien, Mine to one commenter!

Sandra Harris on the web:
 
Over to Sandra now...
The Minefield of Critiquing – Should I Ask for a Critique?

For me, the first rule of asking for a critique is:

v  Don’t ask because you want to hear how good your work is, if the critic is honest, this usually leads to disappointment. Ask because you need to know what you’re doing wrong.

The second rule is:

v  See above rule.

Yes, you need to know what you’re doing right, and a little recognition on that score does not go astray, but more importantly, you need to know what you’re doing wrong. If you’re not ready to hear that your work could benefit from changes or that you’ve made some possible mistakes, don’t ask. If you’re at that stage in your writing where you’re ready for not only constructive criticism, but an acknowledgement of what you are doing right, ask.

Listen to what your Critique Partner has to say. Don’t take offense and justify what you’ve done. Refrain from arguing. Sure, have a friendly, lively discussion, (my CP and I go at it with a fine tooth comb and that's the way we both like it) just don’t adopt the attitude that you’re right and your CP is wrong. Remember, you asked them to check for faults/ways to improve your ms. You don’t have to agree with everything your CP proposes, but do consider they may have a point. The final decision always rests with you.

Certainly don’t be afraid to explain your reasons for writing a particular scene/character the way you have. The problem is, you know what your characters mean, what their motivations are. If your CP has a problem with it, it may be that some crucial point is missing or that you have not clearly explained the driving force behind their actions. If your CP found it a stumbling block in your story there may be something to their criticism.

If you don’t understand your CP’s point ask politely for clarification. Dealing with a CP will give you a good grounding for either accepting or rejecting an editor’s comments/suggestions.

Sandra's debut sci-fi book just released! Congratulations to Sandra!

Alien, Mine

Back Blurb

THE BLUTHEN HAVE ONE CONSUMING PASSION: THEMSELVES.

IN THEIR EXPANSION ACROSS THE GALAXY, THEY WILL GO TO ANY LENGTHS TO DOMINATE SPECIES THEY ENCOUNTER.

Torn from modern day Earth and stranded on the far side of the Galaxy, Sandrea Fairbairn must use every particle of courage she possesses to adjust to her new life and live for tomorrow/a new day.

Eugen Mhartak, a general in the Tri-Race Alliance Army, refuses to bow to the merciless Bluthen. Haunted by the loss of far too many innocent lives he has vowed to drive the ruthless invaders from Alliance space.

The strength and valour of Eugen Mhartak attracts Sandrea as no man ever has, but she struggles to read the enigmatic general’s heart. Determined to help him triumph over the Bluthen she uncovers a diabolical plot against the Alliance.

Drawn by the courage and exotic beauty of Sandrea, Mhartak battles to overcome the barriers of cross-cultural differences that separate them and claim her ardent interest. He must conquer his deepest fears to be the man she needs. When his principles are betrayed by his own government and he is faced with the impossible prospect of taking Sandrea’s life in order to save his home planet, Mhartak desperately searches for a way to keep safe both his world and the magnificent woman who has stolen his heart.

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32 comments:

  1. Good luck with your book, Sandra. Good critique partners aren't the easiest things/people to find. I treasure mine.

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    1. Hi, Carol, thank you. You are so right, clicking with the right person can be quite difficult.

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  2. I don't know what I would do without my CP's! Knowing how to get a good critique, and what to take away from it is just vital.

    Love the sound of this book!!

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    1. Thank you, Meradeth. Yes, a good CP is worth his/her weight in gold. Like you and Carol I treasure mine.

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  3. Sometimes we need to hear that our work is good. I think people leave that out of a critique too often. It's not workable to only hear what needs improvement. The writer's soul is far too fragile for that and it needs to be bolstered just as often as it needs to be corrected.

    (Two cents.)

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    1. A very important point, Suze. We do need to know what we're doing right. Thanks for commenting. :)

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  4. Great points. The whole idea of a critique is to find out what you can do better. While it's nice to hear what we do well, constructive criticism is what makes us better.

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    1. Hi, Kelly, a nice sum up. I think an important component of receiving a critique is being ready to hear that your work isn't brilliant-yet. And as you pointed out, taking that constructive criticism and running with it.

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  5. This is a great take on the critique. Timely too, as I'm about to hand over some of my work for a critique. :)

    Have a great weekend!

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    1. Hi, Karen, thanks for dropping by and I hope you get some great feed back from the critique. :) I think being in the right mind set really helps to make the most of suggestions and comments from a CP.

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  6. There is nothing more humiliating at times than honest crit; the piece you thought was a brilliant creative work is not a thought you'd like to entertain. Yet I know for a fact that I've sold stories that I was able to improve by gettting it critiqued. Those sales wouldn't have happened otherwise.

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    1. Yes, growth can be quite a painful experience, Maria, but as you pointed out, the rewards can be worth it. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  7. Great advice for getting and handling a critique.

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    1. Thank you, Lynda, and accepting and handling a critique will also help you deal with those sometimes brutally truthful comments received during a competition.

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  8. Where would we be without critique partners? We may not accept everything they say, but they certainly help make our story better as we are too close to it ourselves.

    Denise

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    1. Very true, Denise, they can provide a different perspective and make us dig deeper to become better writers.

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  9. I had one CP who justified everything TO ME when I gave her feedback, and why her hubby (who isn't a writer) felt differently. I was less inclined to give honest feedback the next time. If I didn't think she wanted to hear the true, I didn't say anything.

    Great advice.

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    1. That can be aggravating, Stina. Unfortunately it can take a number of attempts at finding a CP you 'click' with. And sometimes the entire exercise doesn't take at all. I hope you've found better experiences since. :)

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  10. It is important to find a CP whose opinions you can trust-- no point in getting a CP if all you want is praise.

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    1. And that's the truth, Damyanti. :)

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  11. This is probably the most honest and helpful post I've read on taking critical feedback. My favorite point is that even though we may have all the reasons in the world to have written a scene the way we did, if the reader is confused by it, something's got to change.

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    1. Thanks, Nicki! That's a major reason for getting a critique isn't it, to make sure a reader can follow your story.

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  12. Awesome points! Learning to crit and accept crits isn't as easy as most people think! :)

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    1. That is so true, Jemi. I think learning how to give a good critique also helps you critique your own work.

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  13. Yes! Very good advice on critiques. You really have to get it in your mind that you want to make your book better, not just hear praise.

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    1. That does seem to be the key, Jennifer. Thanks for dropping by. :)

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  14. What excellent advice! So often people are not quite ready for feedback that isn't positive. I try to take some time with the critique and let it settle in so I can think about it. If we get defensive we can lose out on valuable tips! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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    1. That also is good advice, Jess. Putting a critique/judges comments on scoresheets aside for awhile after reading them and then coming back to them can give you a better perspective of the comments.

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  15. Congrats on your book, Sandra! And fantastic advice! Rule #1 should be repeated often. :)

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    1. Thank you on both scores, Cherie! :)

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  16. Great advice. I want to know how I can improve a manuscript.

    Alien, Mine looks interesting.

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  17. Good advice! I always feel so much better whenever a critic tells me what's not working in the story. I'd rather have that than mindless praise!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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