Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Writer's Wednesday: Have you been a good CP lately?

As I think back on how I got started in writing, and what made me better, I've got to think that critiquing others' work was huge.  It wasn't because I knew so much and had so much to offer other starting writers.  Not at all.  It was that by examining the work of others, I was able to find flaws that I might would have overlooked in my own work.

Things like the dreaded passive voice, annoying dialog tags, overusing a character's name in dialog, and a deluge of adjectives.  When we are writing, these things can all sound really good in our own heads.  For example, when we say:

"I know, Beth, but this is serious."

"I hear you, James."

We often think we're adding extra emphasis or gravity to our words.  But when we read it in others' work, we realize that all it does is add words that characters would probably never say in real life.

So here's my Writer's Wednesday advice for those of you who aren't regularly critiquing another's work: give it a try!  Join the First Pages group on YALitChat (it's free).  Ask a writer friend if they need another set of eyes.  Or even just pick up the book you're reading and pretend you've been hired to edit it.  What would you change?  What bothers you?

Now... how can you change that for the better in your own writing?


  1. I have a hard time not critiquing the book I'm reading!

    1. I have learned to turn off my internal editor (most of the time) and try to just enjoy what I'm reading. I'm probably missing out by not taking my own advice, huh?

  2. I couldn't agree more. Critiquing the work of others is a great way to develop our own skills and YALITCHAT is a great place to get the practice.

  3. I wish I could turn off the internal editor when reading for pleasure. Or even watching a flick. It kicks the entertainment factor right out the window. I think I'll look into YALitChat's forum First Pages.

  4. You're so right. I belong to two critique groups and reading the others' work shows me the flaws in my writing. I think I just did the same thing that I'm telling them not to do. I'm a member of YALITCHAT but haven'g gone to First Pages. Must do that.


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