Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Not for everyone

Every writer has their own process of creating their works. I truly believe that. What starts muddling things up for me, is when the legends in writing start giving advice and instead of holding true to our own unique creation processes, we change what works, to do what the legend does. After all, their works are legendary. What makes me qualified to ignore their expert advice? I have the answer. The fact that my brain works differently.

When I decided that I would like to be a published writer, I started reading up on the craft of writing. All those books advise you to find a critique group, or ask a few fellow writers to critique your work and after that, find beta readers to go over your manuscript again. So, that is exactly what I did. I won't lie, their feedback was invaluable. I learned a lot.

Having said the above, my personality and writing doesn't do well during those two processes. I was so insecure during the critiquing process of my first book, that if someone said I should add a clown, I did. After all, this was my first book, what do I know? It was nobody's fault, but my own. I didn't know better.

Having now been through the whole process and having published a novel, I want to do things a bit differently next time. So, no critique partners this time around. Just me and my editor. I may try the beta readers process again, but I also may not. Still not decided on this one. If people hate my book, because they didn't like the story, or how the novel unfolded and it's true to my vision, then fine. I can deal with that. But presenting a book I'm proud of and which holds true to my artistic vision is the most important thing for me at the moment. No more people pleasing. I just can't please everyone.

I'm still stuck with book 2, but I'm slowly returning to a functional human again. So, hopefully the rewrites of book 2 will come along better now.

So, do you prefer working with critique partners, or without them?

21 comments :

  1. I prefer working with them. Although it can be a pain in the butt to find enough reliable ones for a particular book.

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    1. I understand, Misha. Good ones can be hard to find. But it's worth it in the end.

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  2. As long as you have an editor and it works for you, do it.
    I didn't have critique partners for my first book, just two test readers. Using critique partners for the second one made a huge difference to me. Now I know that three critique partners is the perfect fit for me.

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    1. Thanks for the support, Alex. It's great that you now know what works for you.

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  3. Hi Murees - you're learning and that's the main thing - you'll pick up the things that work for you. Good luck with the process though .. all the best - cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you Hilary. Luckily for me, I don't mind learning:) It should make for an interesting publication journey this time round.

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  4. It got to the point where I had so many writing "rules" in my head, I became paralyzed on the page. It's important to learn from others, but it's also important to not give up what makes our process unique.

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    1. I agree, Madeline. I'm there right now. So many No-No's. But I have to write what I have to and hope I don't make my editor mad at me, if the manuscript is a mess:) But I have to stick to my process this time. Thank you for the support.

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  5. crit partners can shut down a bit of creativity, but just as easily encourage more. Like everything, the answer is it depends, but I think critique groups are THE best place for any/all writers to begin. The conversation and breadth of styles you'll experience can not be beat. I got a lot of early direction at my local CG.

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    1. I'm happy it has worked so well for you. Finding what works definitely makes things easier.

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  6. Personally, for me, I found what works is to learn, assimilate the information, stew on it for a while, and then write. Years of workshops and books and advice from writers have soaked into this brain of mine. It's in there somewhere, operating on a subconscious level. If I think about it too hard, I'll freeze up and not be able to write at all!

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    1. I freeze up all the time. I don't always stew on things, and end up thinking that is how I should do things. But that is changing now:) Thanks for the support.

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  7. So pleased you are gaining in self confidence, Murees. When I started out, I read every book going and took several courses. I did learn a lot and will be forever grateful to my tutors. However, it did get to the point when I was trying too hard to follow the rules and I got myself into a right ole pickle. My tutor told me to stop reading 'how to' books and just write. Best advice ever (even though, the books did play a vital role at the time). Wishing you continued joy and best of luck with the second novel. Follow your heart and mind and I'm sure it will be a success.

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    1. Thank you, Nicola. You're tutor is right. I feel like that now. That I should just write. All the best to you.

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  8. You're doing great. Stick to what works for you!

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  9. I've never really had critique partners - I prefer my beta readers :). It's so true - you've got to figure out and stick with whatever works best for you! Don't stress about book 2, you'll get it done when you feel ready to tackle it again :)

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    1. Thank you, Rachel:) I know you are right.

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  10. I had a couple of beta readers. Some of their input I implemented, some I didn't. But I agonized over every little critique I got. Next time I'll listen to my editor and a very select group of reader friends only. I agree, we have to stick with what works best for us and forget some of the rules.

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    1. Thank you for your support, Jennifer. We should definitely do what works for us. It's the best thing to do, at least for me:)

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  11. I don't have a critique group and probably won't ever have one. Nor do I have a critique partner. Well, maybe I do but I prefer to call her a beta reader but she does often critique my work when she needs to. I just use beta readers though. I find that less stressful. And then you're not trying to please everyone which is impossible. After the beta readers, if my book gets accepted by my publisher, I have my editor to help polish my work to perfection.

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