How to Find a Critique Buddy
The MudPuddle from RWA-FFP
Both were wonderful starting grounds. On Ladies Who Critique, which was a free service, I found all members under my genre and friended them. Heck I didn’t know what else to do.
In order to join The Mudpuddle group you have to first become a member of RWA (charge), then you have to join FFP (charge) and from there you can request to join The MudPuddle crit group (free).
So first off, I put a few chapters up on The MudPuddle and yes, you guessed it, it was torn to shreds. I have to mention here that a lot of the comments were those that I needed to hear. Some of the comments mentioned mistakes and questions that my editor had already pointed out but I was too stubborn to change. So, although my feelings were terribly hurt from that experience, I can honestly say that because of it I have a better book.
One comment told me to delete the first chapter and start the book at the second chapter. This was something that I was totally against. The first chapter had vital information in it that I wanted the reader to know, such as the extent of Eva and Allysan’s relationship. But as I thought about it more I decided to take his advice and do away with it. In the end you will see that Eva and Allysan’s relationship is weaved throughout the story and you are actually spared from the first chapter info dump. You can all thank Ed for that.
After working with The MudPuddle for a couple of months, my massive friending spree over at Ladies Who Critique finally paid off. Two lovely gals contacted me, Stephy and Terri. We communicated back and forth for about a week deciding on how we should pursue with crit’s, what format to use and what would be fair to all parties.
Now this small crit group of unpublished aspiring authors is where I really learned the most. I went in it with an open mind, as you should when joining a crit group. I figured that I had to view these ladies as potential customers. I didn’t get offended or annoyed if either came back with “Sa’Mya seems addled brained. Is that what you are going for?” or “I don’t understand what you mean.” Or “This doesn’t make sense.?” To me those were valid comments and questions. If a reader is asking the question that means I’ve missed the mark somewhere. I didn’t fire back an email that said, “What, yes it does! I explained it in chapter 2!” Why? Because if I had explained it thoroughly in chapter 2, then the question would not have been asked. So, instead I would go back to chapter 2 and expand where needed.
In return, I offered the same services to them. I wouldn’t read their work, trying to nitpick through every word or sentence, trying to find mistakes or errors. I would simply read as a reader would. If a sentence or two needed help then I would offer a solution. If a scene could use a little more “umph”, I would offer advice.
I’m happy to report that one of my crit partners went on to start her own publishing company (Troll River) and the other signed with her and has a very successful science fiction series (Patricia Knight)
As always (from the sayings of a good crit partner), “take what you can use and discard the rest!”
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Genre - Science fiction
Rating – R
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