“More than half of modern culture depends on what one shouldn’t read.”
So says Oscar Wilde in The Importance of Being Earnest.
While Wilde was referring to the taboo literature of the time, this quote makes me think of the poorly written/edited books flooding the market today.
There are so many of them that I’ve decided to no longer read self-pub/small press books without first glancing at the acknowledgements. If there are no thanks given to early readers, critique partners, beta readers, and/or editors, then I’ll pass.
Why does it make a difference?
Because it tells me that the author gives no value to those things and likely has not even bothered with them.
Is it tough to be critiqued? Heck yeah!
Sometimes a harsh critique will leave you slumped in a corner crying (been there), but it’s a necessary step in the evolution of your craft.
You MUST get feedback to improve.
When I say get critiques I don’t mean from your parents, siblings, spouse, aunt, or friends. I mean from other writers. People who are navigating the same rocky terrain as you. Join a writing group or find a few critique partners (CPs) whose judgement you can trust.
So, where do you find a CP?
If you’re just starting out, try critiquecircle.com.
It’s easy to join and use. You’ll get feedback from multiple writers—I’ve had up to seven at a time—which will give you a good idea of where the problems are in your writing.
Once you have improved significantly, find a genre-specific writing organization. Most of them have resources for locating CPs and beta readers.
For example, if you’re writing Children’s, MG, or YA, SCBWI is the place for you. For Historical Fiction, Historical Novel Society. Christian, ACFW. Also check the FB groups of these organizations. They may have a group you can join specifically for beta reading or critiquing.
This all seems like ‘Duh’ advice—and I wish it was—but I’ve read too many duds lately to think this post is superfluous.
Happy writing and critiquing!
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