1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,637
    Likes Received:
    3,843
    Location:
    Pennsylvania

    Revising Ahead of Your Critique Group Meeting

    Discussion in 'The Art of Critique' started by Catrin Lewis, Jan 14, 2017.

    It looks like all the members of the new writers' group we're starting in a couple of weeks are in a similar position: we all have first novels we've completed but haven't yet published, and we all have second novels in progress. It's the latter we'll be submitting for critique, starting at the beginning and working onward.

    We're uploading two chapters at a time, two or three weeks in advance, so we can look each other's over and think about them before the meeting. I corrected some minor issues before submitting my first two, but I've gone over those chapters enough in the past that it didn't take long.

    But there are passages in the following chapters that I'm not sure about, and changing them will take some major rethinking. And I'm not really, totally, absolutely, 100% sure they're a problem at all. They may be Crimes Against Literary Art, or if they may be totally appropriate and I'm just being over-sensitive; it's fifty-fifty either way.

    So . . . if you were in front of my keyboard, would you revise those passages before uploading the chapters? Or would you wait and hear what your critique partners have to say?
     
  2. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2016
    Messages:
    1,335
    Likes Received:
    1,230
    Location:
    Chicago, IL.
    I always follow my gut. If I think something wrong; I'll change it. If it is a 50%/50% I'll get feedback. If I know something is wrong, but I can't figure it out; I'll post it as is but I'll leave a question/request like "I know this chapter is off, but I can't figure out why."
     
    Iain Aschendale and Lifeline like this.
  3. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,637
    Likes Received:
    3,843
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    It occurs to me that I could throw one of the questionable chapters up on the Workshop here, and see what WF members say.
     
  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    15,502
    Likes Received:
    18,450
    Location:
    East devon/somerset border
    Changing stuff in case your critique group think it's weak is like cleaning your house in case your cleaner thinks its dirty
     
  5. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,637
    Likes Received:
    3,843
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    LOL. "Golly, I wonder what she'll think of the litter box in the front room? My cats like it fine!"
     
  6. KhalieLa

    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2015
    Messages:
    654
    Likes Received:
    444
    Location:
    United States
    I revise ahead of time and always try to bring my best work to the table. If I'm not sure about something I will put myself and my novel in "time-out." Other members in my group have done the same. So, you took a meeting or two off to wrestle with something; in the long run that's not a big deal.

    What we do when a novel is in "time-out" is bring something else we happen to be working on. Got some short stories you've been kicking around for a contest coming up? Bring those. I don't think anyone will mind and some may appreciate it since there will be fewer pages to read. Our group does one chapter each, every-other-week, which works out to critiquing about 160 pages a month, so seeing someone turn in a 3 to 5 page short story rather than a 10+ page chapter is a blessing.

    Or, rather than put up two chapters just try to get one done to your liking and post that.
     
  7. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    In the situation you describe, I send it out for critique without mentioning my worries. It's tempting to pre-empt the critique by saying you know something's wrong yadda yadda but resist; it biases the critique.

    If nobody has a problem with the passages you're worried about, you know it's not a huge problem that must be fixed right away. If they do pick up on it, you know for sure there's an issue and they might help you put your finger on exactly what it is.
     
    Catrin Lewis and Iain Aschendale like this.
  8. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2014
    Messages:
    3,637
    Likes Received:
    3,843
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Good point; that's kind of what I was thinking.

    On the other hand, I think I will revise the chapter I'm most concerned about ahead of time, even if I leave the others basically alone. I have my MC going into two or more pages of reminiscences that are supposed to show why her cat is so important to her, and I think I can do it in a much more economical way. That writing is truly awful, no doubt about it.

    I've got a good four weeks to decide.
     
  9. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    7,547
    Likes Received:
    10,209
    Location:
    London, UK
    It does sound like that could be shortened but... don't estimate your cat lady audience (e.g. me). I can totally relate to a character who spends two pages on her cat. :D
     
    Rosacrvx and Catrin Lewis like this.
  10. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2014
    Messages:
    391
    Likes Received:
    347
    Location:
    Minnesota
    For me, the issue is, how do I make the best use of everyone's time in my writer's group. If I already recognize something isn't right, or warrants changing, I'm going to do it before I upload for the group. I always do a final read-through and edit before I send it off to the group. I don't want or need them fixing errors that I can find and fix myself. BTW, I feel similarly about the house-cleaner (were I to have one). Wouldn't want that person dealing with surface clutter that I could easily get out of the way myself so that they could get down to the nitty-gritty.
     
    Catrin Lewis and BayView like this.
  11. Arcadeus

    Arcadeus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2016
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    245
    Only two pages on the cat? What is this a 3 page story? :p
     
    Tenderiser, Rosacrvx and Catrin Lewis like this.
  12. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    4,394
    Likes Received:
    3,332
    Location:
    occasionally Oz , mainly Canada
    When I reworked a short novella of mine -- Not Pink -- I included a party scene that wasn't horrible but I didn't like it. It kept bugging me. My instincts are usually right so when a scene bugs me I try to fix it. I decided the problem was in the laying out of the scene detail by detail. Instead I hightlighted my favorite details and condensed the scene into the robot reminiscing about the night's events as he looks out a window. I was much happier with the writing. I turned three pages of the party into a few sharp paragraphs and it has become one of my favorite scenes in the story.
    Maybe you need to do the opposite turn the reminiscences into one sharp scene. If you've got the time I'd work on it before you show it. The best advice is when people point out things you didn't catch not really reinforcing what you know is already off.
     
    Rosacrvx and Catrin Lewis like this.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice