Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Inside The Writing Trenches and Critique Groups

Hi everyone! Today I'm looking at being Inside My Writing World. Any other writers out there think they have a nice, completed manuscript? One you've edited over and over and think is ready to send out? Only to find, nope, not the case.

That has been my situation these last two months. I really thought I was ready. My last step is to always get some critiques, and since I've joined a new online critique group, I was really looking forward to some good info. The group meets only once a month, so I wait many weeks to see what people will think.

Last month, the critiques that came back had me re working my first chapter. Some great comments had come my way about my character's goals and about bringing the fantasy aspect into the story within the first two pages, instead of on page four. I was reading the comments and thinking, how did I miss that? I reworked the beginning of the book and thought, yep, now I'm ready. Ready to query, nope, ready to send to a beta reader for more critique.

 I sent out the beginning of the book to a trusted writing professional. During the time she was looking at my work, I ran across two agents that were suddenly open to submissions, but only for a brief time. One was a three day contest to submit a query and sample and the other was an agent who suddenly posted on twitter that she would be closed to submissions at midnight THAT night. Yikes! I wanted to wait to hear back from my writer friend, but I didn't want to miss these opportunities. So, I did it. I sent in both queries. I'd had the critiques from my writing group and thought that even if not perfect, the manuscript was in a condition to garner interest from an agent.

When will I learn? Just a few days after submitting, I heard back from my friend. Her comments blew up my book and had me rethinking everything. I read through her comments and realized she had looked at things from a more editorial perspective, and wanted me to rewrite several chapters and change some POV's. My book has alternating points of views from the two main characters. Her notes set my brain on fire, and last night I spent hours remolding my work. I needed shorter chapters and some more details to further explain elements in the story. Things that I had thought obvious were not. I have many more changes to make.

The whole time I was rewriting I couldn't help kicking myself for sending those two queries. The book was so much better now and though the version the two agents have shows great potential, they are not what the opening chapters look like now. All is not lost, this is only the beginning and I'm hoping those two agents will like the hook of the story and suggest a rewrite. Plus, I have several book conferences coming up, and by then I will have things worked out and ready. Well, ready as can be. There is always tweaking and if you wait till it's absolutely perfect in your own eyes, you'll never send it out.

So, those were my writing experiences these last couple months. I hope by sharing them it will help other writers out there in the trenches.

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