Monday, January 28, 2013

Exercise of Futility?

I do not like wasting others' time. Writing is no different. I am blessed with both a wonderful writers' group and an awesome new critique partner. They are always generous with praise and provide helpful insight on ways to make it better. Yet, I am in the initial stages of my WIP and, though I know where I want things to go in the big picture, I am struggling writing the page-to-page. So, I find myself cringing each time I submit something to them.  "Rough" draft is very much an exaggeration.  I know without hesitation that my WIP will take several drafts before the story is complete and I even consider querying.

I'm curious what your rule-of-thumb is when submitting to critique partners or writers' groups?  Do you believe it is a waste of their time and talents to submit as you write? That a writer should wait until that first rough draft is complete before subjecting others to it?  Or do you believe it is simply part of the process?

11 comments:

Cari Hislop said...

I waited until my first book was done before sharing it with someone. I was very disheartened to learn that my inability to remember which book I was writing (I had three stories in my head) was quite visible. It had so many problems it went into a drawer and I started book two. An early critique would have highlighted the problems, but was that what I needed as a writer?

It's in the ups and downs of writing the first few books that we learn how we write. It took me the equivalent of four + books (and two computer crashes) to figure it out. I think if I'd had someone critiquing my unfinished work it would have taken me longer to figure out that I'm a pantser. Those first few books I was trying to plot. I was marching my characters through adventures and they were hating every minute. A lot stiffness and problems in my writing disappeared once I learned to trust my impulse to leap off that writer's cliff wearing cardboard wings.

Follow your heart; if you feel happy and excited to get back to writing after having someone critique your work, you're on the right road. If afterwards you feel sorely tempted to throw your unfinished brain child in the bin and it takes a week of chocolate or stimulants to return to your book...it's probably the wrong road.

Jenna Barton said...

I think each writer has - or should be allowed to find - what process works for them. Yes, that *is* found in the writing process through the first few books, but I think more important, we discover our feet as writers and get them under us.

Some writers need to sit on crits for a few days or even weeks, and some dig right in. Creative work is a personal process where one of the few common experiences among us is 'keep trying'.

Lexi said...

I agree with Jenna and Cari. It's what works for you. Criticism is necessary, but hard. If it shuts you down, that's a bad thing. Once you figure out your voice and style, and gain confidence in yourself as a writer, you can accept critiques for what they are: suggestions. The goal should be better writing, but there's more than one way to skin a cat!

Kat Jones said...

Definitely great points to consider. At this point I only have one VERY rough draft of a different book completed. (I plan to return to it, but my current WIP is calling my name! That's a different post though. ;) ) Maybe its as simple as I've yet to find my footing (and thus any confidence) in my writing.

I must say that the feedback I receive motivates me every time!

Ginny Lynn said...

I'm thankful for my old critique group because they helped to hone my talent. I'm a better writer because of them.

Carla Swafford said...

Critiquing along the way is helpful as long you're dedicated to stay at a steady pace so your partner doesn't forget what she's already read. Plus it keeps from overwhelming her time.

Just my opinion.

M.V.Freeman said...

This is a good question--I think it depends on the C.P. I have one that I send every chapter. I have another that I send a large chunk (like several chapters at one time)

Writing is a process like no other-its painful, fun, hard...

The best thing is to find people who are truthful and love your voice. I want to improve and I'm at a point I know what will work or what doesn't.

For me I need to know I am headed in the right direction...I'd rather find that early.

See, now I am going to be thinking of this question the rest of the evening!

Kat said...

Like you Ginny, I've found the input from both my writers' group & CP invaluable!

Kat said...

Great point Carla - consistency with submissions! Definitely something I can improve upon.

Kat said...

Mary this has been on my mind lately. Mainly I think, because writing, especially in its initial stages, is so personal and you can't help but feel exposed & vulnerable. My nature is to have things all perfect before presenting it. ;) (After all, I write in my day job & no one sees it until its in final form.)

I will say this though, I have found some great people to share the experience with!

Louisa Cornell said...

I think you've gotten some great advice here. The key is to find what works for you and to discuss it with your CP or writing group. Explain what you need from them and come up with a workable plan together. Sometimes you will need different amounts and types of critiques with different WIPs and at different stages.

And remember you ARE writing which puts you eons ahead of the thousands of people who say they are going to write a book one day and don't!

Hope you got the research stuff I sent you and I hope it helps!! Keeping writing! You have a great voice and some great stories to tell!