Wednesday, December 11, 2019

The Importance of A Writing Critique

Last night I was expecting some hard love on the chapter of Ark I submitted to my Writer's Circle (pictured here).  After all these years, I still get a bit anxious ahead of receiving feedback from my peers on what I've written, whether it's fiction or RPG. And yet I keep being part of one, because of course, not doing it would be far worse.
Bruce, Torah, Sarah, Peter

Why? Several reasons. Here are a few.

Critiques force at least one more revision. Of course, I'm always doing a little polishing, but there's always one more chance to get a chapter or piece in shape right before you send it off for your critiquers to apply their hairy eyeballs. You'll still end up doing a second draft later on (if you're writing a larger piece). But this doesn't hurt.

Critiques grant you a wider perspective. I try to encompass the perspective of my characters, but in the end, I'm just one person. What my characters think—and how I portray their internal thoughts—is probably a bit narrow by definition. Having other people bring their perspective allows you to open up details or smooth over tripping points that I just figured was common knowledge or that I read past without 

Critiques provide accountability. I'm always looking for mechanisms that encourage me to keep to my deadlines (e.g. the recent creation of my Patreon!). A writing group can provide another impetus to keep moving forward. Because, let's face it, it's awkward if you've gone five months without writing anything and there's nothing to critique. In a group, there's subtle pressure—friendly, one hopes—to get back to your keyboard and write.

Oh, and what about the group's reaction to that chapter? Well, dear readers, they had their issues, but of course, these are all issues I am now going to fix, and make the chapter better.