Worried about my progress and objective critique

Discussion in 'Writing' started by BlueAngel, Jan 22, 2010.

  1. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I currently have only one person editing my work, but in the last few months they've been pretty busy and I feel bad adding to the pile. I've stuck to the one-on-one basis for the ease of it, and I haven't had multiple critiques for some time. I admit I'm afraid of multiple crits because of the possible confusion it may cause me. I also haven't felt comfortable sharing anything online because of fear that someone would take my ideas, and write them better than I could.
    My writing, even though it could only be considered a hobby for lack of income, is a deep emotional investment to me. I'm afraid that it'll to out to be garbage to others reading it. I have sewn intricate ideas together trying to make something unique, and I'm afraid it'll fail to show the effort I've put in it.

    I read back a couple threads and saw a critique site mentioned, critters.org, and I was considering joining, but I'm not sure. I don't know what to do yet. Any advice? :confused: ~Angela
     
  2. Dawnstorm

    Dawnstorm Master Obfuscator

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    Critters.org may be a trifle to brutal if you're not yet used to critiques. I hear it's for, let's say, critique-hardened people.

    I do remember you posting excerpts way back. Am I mistaken? If not, what has changed? Bad experiences?

    You can reduce the number of people who can see your story if you use the new stories subforum - only logged-in members can see that. Ultimately, if you want feedback, someone will have to read your stuff.

    Finally, you can start a thread and ask for readers whom you mail the story. I do hope that's allowed, because I did that, heh.
     
  3. zachariah

    zachariah Speaks fluent Bawehrf

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    If you're worried about story ideas being taken, just watch Avatar and tell me how valuable originality is. The value lies in the execution, not the high-concept.

    That said, I know how nerve-wracking it is to put stuff up for random internet yahoos to critique. Only you can decide if you want to do this. It's not for everyone. I put bits and bobs up in the absolutewrite.com forums and do a fair bit of critting there as well, and I've found it invaluable.

    You cannot be a wilting flower about your writing. You want to sell it and have people read it, don't you? You think editors, agents and the paying public wil be kinder than internet crit groups? ;)
     
  4. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    Crit groups are beginners ROFL.

    I have a wonderful one from an agent that rejected me. I often wonder what was so bad about the work that they were moved to scribble all over the first page listing my faults, rather than just send me the bog standard reject letter.

    As for crit groups http://sff.onlinewritingworkshop.com/ is good, but it is fee paying. Has a good track record, Elizabeth Bear and Scott Bakker have both been members at some point. You have to earn points to put up work. You do this by doing crits for other people, but you can't get away with I like/don't like type of crit, a lot more detailed and constructive crit is required . There is also a limit to how many sections you can put up at one time and word limits on the sections.

    Also you can not tell anyone your idea, and still find that someone is, or has is the past worked on a similar idea. Can't copyright ideas, but you can and do the moment you write it your way.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  5. kmtolan

    kmtolan KMTolan

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    Yahoo Groups has quite a few writing groups in there - some huge, and some not so. Many of these groups go down to line-by-line editing, and it is all free. Of course, you will have to reciprocate in kind.

    There is, of course, the hassle that goes with finding the right group for you. My ideal group would be relatively small and include at least one professional writer in it. I'm not much for the cattle-car critique group approach.

    You can often get help from creative writing professors at local colleges. They tend to know where the groups are - and if you are really fortunate you can hook up with a local group for actual face-time.

    Kerry
     
  6. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer Author of novels

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    It's amazing the number of authors who've kept every rejection letter they've ever had...
     
  7. JT Billow

    JT Billow Love with Mercy

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    BlueAngel, in all my honesty I have to tell you, I would never use any service or website with people who claim to be 'professional' critique-ers.

    As Holbrook said:
    The bottom line is this (as flows with my opinion): The best critiques you can ever receive for your written work are from reputable agents and editors from publishers. Why? because these are people who work in the business, and know what has the potential to sell.

    And yes, I said sell. Some people will say that quality of said work is more important than sales, but the truth of the matter is; if there is no potential to makes money, publishers won't care how 'touching' your book is. And if your debut novel is dreary in sales, everything short of washing the car and cleaning the house of the Acquisitions Editor will help in getting your 2nd work out.

    My opinion always gets reinforced by a local commercial I see on TV from a large carpet cleaning service: 'Stick with the pros, they know stains'.

    Of course, equating aspiring authors to stains, isn't the best analogy.



    I keep mine as well, but someday I will find a very comical use for them...
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  8. Susan Boulton

    Susan Boulton Edited for submission

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    JT I think you got the wrong end of the stick from my comments. I meant, by their very nature a good critique group is not as blunt. They give, if well run, support as well as advice. There is always someone in the group that has had more knocks than you, learned from those knocks, and willing to pass the knowledge on.

    And agents, when you are querying rarely give any critique, not unless they are interested.

    If a editor at a publisher/magazine is working with you, (it is not a critique as such) it is bashing the work into shape once it has been accepted for publication. Totally different thing.

    Besides a good group can help you build up a thick skin.

    And both critters and onlinewritingworkshop has folks in the business.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010
  9. BlueAngel

    BlueAngel I r curious cuttlefish

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    I think it would be a good idea to do what Dawnstorm suggested. I could ask for readers and mail them the work for critique, and I could do some critique in exchange if it's wanted.

    @ Dawnstorm, I stopped posting mainly due to fear of theft, but I've discovered that those fears were unwarranted.

    Thanks for everyone else's comments. I think I'll stick with sffworld for now. :) ~Angela
     
  10. Inkstain

    Inkstain Registered User

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    I've heard very good things in both the online and print media regarding Critters. I joined but I am currently rather busy with my own short story so I have yet to submit any of my own required critiques. I would agree with both Holbrook and JT Billow. Ben Bova (a former editor for Analog) advises aspiring novelists to avoid critiques from friends, family members and other as yet unpublished authors as they do not themselves know what an editor is actually looking for. Rather, he advises seeking critiques--when available--from established authors or those familiar with the industry.

    However, that's obviously not always a viable option. Add to this, most beginning authors benefit from the support found in writing groups and good writing groups will often have as members, established writers and people from the industry. So writing groups with good reputations can presumably be quite helpful.

    Mind you, I'm no established author nor am I in the biz; I'm just a guy who reads "how-to" books, but I would advise one thing regarding posting the stories you ultimately wish to sell. Make sure you post those stories strictly to sites where they allow only members who must log in to see your drafts. Magazines and other buyers generally want first rights to a work and if you have already offered your work up for public consumption, they may pass.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2010