Friday, January 20, 2012

Test the waters

Getting critiqued can be scary. The idea of someone reading what you (heart and soul) wrote may give you  nightmares of blood red ink scratched across each page with comments of how to fix this and that, along with what you need to learn in the margins. Embarrassment, hurt, saddness can take hold and a tear may fall. You open your eyes. It was a nightmare. A big sense of relief, but at some point, you have to share your work. Why? To grow. To strengthen. You need to know what is wrong to fix it.

For some, it's easy. For others, not so much. For me, I wanted lots of people to read my stuff and tell me what I needed to do. It doesn't mean I wasn't chewing my nails or eating a load of chocolate everytime I sent it, or I didn't fall hard when I got some of them back. I did and I still do. You learn how to deal and tolerate it in some way. But I realized the only way for me to learn is to 'see' what I'm doing wrong.

Where do you start? There are many places to begin.

1. Ask a fellow blogger or writer you trust. It's a start. Send something small if you want to test the waters.

2. If you are feeling brave try one of these ultra helpful sites. Both take only small snippits of your work and give some great feedback. Plus, you can remain anonymous. Easy peasy.

Christina Lee and Stina Lindenblatt's First Words Workshop

Dianne Salerni and Marcy's (Mainwords) First Impressions

3. If you're really brave try something more. There are forums where you can load more of your work for feedback.

YALitChat-For young adult



Miss Snarks's First Victim

It's not easy. No one said it was. Testing the waters is just another step in becoming a better writer.

Have you tested the waters?

If you want to share any other tips or sites, please share in the comments below.
Have a great day!


  1. This is my goal for this year - to let my work out of my sight :-)

  2. Oh, giving your stuff to critters can be scary! Especially at first. If you just met the person and are still feeling each other out. And let's face it, you are giving them your BABY. *shivers*

    In time though, you'll learn to work with critters well. If you ask me, critters are a KEY part in becoming a better writer. My advice would be to find ones that have strong points that are your weak points (and vice versa).


  3. I just sent out a call for help on my blog last spring and was overwhelmed with responses. I finally selected two who wrote in my genre and one who didn't. All were blogger buddies I trusted and had read my first book. I've never regretted my decision, as all three have been awesome and brought something new to the table.

  4. Critique Circle (a paid forum) is great for critiquing and receiving crits on your writing.

    I honestly don't know what I'd do without the multiple beta readers and crit partners my writing seems to require! I don't know how people do without them. It's the best way to improve.

  5. Great ideas. Putting yourself out there is always scary, but it is the best way to learn. I can't tell you the depth of help betas/CPs have given me. I've recently paid to have my first 50 pages critiqued by a well-known YA author. She was fabulous. With this particular manuscript, I felt I'd exhausted my CPs. This author pinpointed what was probably holding back the agents that have shown interest in my MS. This was a new road for me, but one I am so thankful that I decided to take. :) Here's to more progress!!

  6. Critiques can be so very scary! Great tips--thanks, Christine!

  7. I have three amazing crit partners who just see things I never did. It's also nice to enter contests that have a crit as a prize - even just a bit, to have that extra feedback.

  8. This is great advice. I found my critique partner at a conference, but all my other's I've found online. We first became friends and then beta readers for each other.