Thursday, August 25, 2011

A Little Something About Critique

I have critique on the brain today. I needed to get a manuscript ready to send out for a formal critique at an upcoming conference. One of those paid critiques. So, as you can imagine, there was a bit (okay, a lot) of craziness involved. But here's a little something something I picked up along the way.

A month or so ago, I attended a conference where I had this same manuscript critiqued. There were extensive notes, mostly about a frame I'd constructed for the story. Now, I really love this frame. But I also respect this evaluator. So I'd set the story aside and worked on other writing. Until this week when I pulled out the manuscript to review the notes. I figured I'd make a few corrections and let it go.

And then I read those notes. I read the heck out of those notes. The more I thought about that frame, the more questions I asked. In the shower, on my walk, folding clothes...I could NOT get those questions out of my head. I knew I needed the answer to this one, particular question: What was I trying to accomplish with that technique?

Once I sorted that out, I could work on the manuscript. And you know what? I kept a modified version of the frame. And now I know exactly why.

So, when you've got critique notes in hand, whether they're the formal, paid kind, or the informal freebies, give yourself a little time to make those revisions. Let the ideas percolate awhile, and then before you do anything, consider why you will or will not make changes. Imagine that you have to defend your work. 'Cause someday, when you've sold your book to a publisher and the editor has a little something something to say about your story, you need to be ready.