The Sun Breaks Through


So here I am, complaining about being too chicken to submit my work to a critique group for shredding review, when LO! and behold, Courtney Vail, a fellow writer whose blog I found through the “writing” tag on WordPress and visited and commented to, pops by my blog and sees my whiny little wimp-fest.

She left me an encouraging comment, and a link to The Next Big Writer website, which has critique groups you can join, and then she took it a step farther.

She wasted a few minutes of her own life to post this incredibly helpful entry, which includes a list of questions to ask when reviewing a piece for someone. She gives the usual advice about writing in a vacuum, and how it’s not helpful, and then gives a bullet-point list of things to look for when you’re doing a critique. They’re things her groups uses, and I imagine those of you familiar with critiquing another writer’s work don’t need the guidance, but I sure as heck did.

Not only will this help me learn to critique, it’s going to help me write, too. Keeping these things in mind when doing my own writing (yes, smart-alecs, I do write occasionally, just not right this moment) will strengthen the prose substantially and direct the writing to stay focused.

I think.

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12 thoughts on “The Sun Breaks Through

  1. Awww. Thanks for the plug. That’s so sweet. I’m not even sure how to do a trackback. I’ve only been blogging a couple weeks.

    I think most writers are afraid of critique. I totally was, but I’m so glad I moved out of my comfort zone. My work is so much better for it. I’m thankful to all those who’ve taken the time to help me improve. All writers can grow and learn. Steve Stills, the guitarist, is incredible and has been playing for eons and he’s always learning new things and experimenting. I love that.

    Keep at it.
    ~CV

  2. Hi, Courtney, welcome back! Thank you for the kind words.

    I’m sure you’re right — there will be nothing but benefits from growing beyond chicken-stage and being a big boy. That being said, I’m scared to grow up and always have been. 42 years later it’s too late, but I still don’t get it sometimes.

    I know it’s the next step for me. I have a sweet friend who’s volunteered to do the first critique for me. Take my virginity if you will. She promises to be gentle. I’m nervous, but I’m going through with it. From there, though, I have to be thicker-skinned and get my work in front of others. I’m only deluding myself otherwise.

    As for pingbacks — all you do is copy the URL (in the address bar of your browser if you’re on the page you’re reading, and not in a feed reader), and create a link with that URL as the destination. For yours, I went to your post, copied the address from my browser’s address bar, wrote THIS post, then highlighted the words I want to make into a link in the blog editor. In the destination address of the link, I pasted the URL copied from your site. Voila! Instant pingback.

    πŸ™‚ Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

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