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Jul
18
2010

Critiques and the Creative Process

 

Critiques are a mandatory part of the creative process. There’s just no two ways about it. If you want to get better at what you do, you have to learn from what you’ve done wrong. It’s simple, right? Except when that means putting yourself – or your work, as the case may be – out there for the world to see.

In my case, the ‘world’ was my RWA chapter members. Every meeting, members are invited to read a few pages from their current WIP to be critiqued by the group. I was hesitant to share my words because I’m so new to the group and I wasn’t sure what kind of critique to expect. But I decided that if I was willing to send my pages out to an agent or editor, I’d better be ready to read them to a group of my peers. So I did.

I’d have to say that overall the experience was really great. I think the critiques I got were positive, fair and thought-provoking. I found it really interesting that a couple of people thought something about my characters that wasn’t the case at all. It got me thinking. If they think that, then the reader could think that too. I’d originally brushed it off as just something that needing a little tweak to clarify things. However, once the idea was sparked, I could see the possibilities. I started to see how one little tweak in a different direction, could change the story. It could create more tension, more conflict, and certainly more heart. Perfect!

So while I still love my original story, I thought I’d take a couple of weeks and try playing with the new possibilities a little to see how it turns out. I’m curious if I’ll actually like the new one better, or if it will simply be different. At heart, the story is the same. Only one character has changed, but in that one small change, there’s a whole new edge and tension that flows through the novel.

Well, there’s only one way to find out which version I like better – I have to finish the rewrite. See you back here when I get to the end. Again.

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Heather

5 comments

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  1. Shana Brodsky says:

    I think sometimes I like rewriting more than I like writing! There’s just something fun about taking a piece and bringing it to that next level. Good luck!

  2. Janet Walters says:

    Heather, Glad we were of help even if we sent you off in a different direction. I’ve had that happen to me. Remember to make any changes your way. When it’s happened to me ther story usually becomes stronger. Janet

    1. hthurmeier says:

      Hi Shana and Janet,
      Thanks for the encouragement and support. I know you guys understand what it’s like to undertake a big revision. It’s a lot more work than I expected, but thankfully, I LOVE it! It’s so fun to see how one little change becomes a catalyst for so much more. Honestly, I’m just enjoying the entire process of writing so much – hard work and all!

  3. Wendy Marcus says:

    Hi Heather!
    Like Shana, I like the rewriting better than the writing. I like adding layers and depth to my characters with each editing pass.

  4. Janet Walters says:

    Another comment. Revisions are fun but I’m a draft writer so every draft I am revising. Getting the story down first is painful and always makes me feel a bit ill

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