Ek’abo Ebi! (Welcome Family!)
Finding the courage to write a book is one thing. But it’s quite another to have your work critiqued by others. You leave your work open to the opinions and thoughts of your peers and sometimes even strangers. You hope that when you take this chance, that you will gain something worthwhile. A new opportunity to hone your craft may present itself. A new idea or suggestion might help your story flow better.
But what happens when that reader does not share an interest in your choice of genre? Does it make sense for him/her to read your work? If you have no interest in poetry, sci-fi or even romance why take the time to critique that person’s work? Sure if you’ve been writing for a long time, you may be able to help your peer sift out problems with technique, grammar or flow. But I believe that you lose the pleasure of reading the work, if you find it dull or boring. I am not a fan of books based on horror, so I would never read or offer my opinion regarding such literature.
If you join a critique group, try to connect with those that share the same or similar interests as yourself. I find that they will be more open to the story you have written, the characters you’ve created and even the scenes you’ve developed in your mind.
When I first allowed someone to read my work, it did not occur to me that fantasy was not their cup of tea. The comments they made rubbed me the wrong way. And then I realized, this person was not a reader of sci-fi or fantasy based books. They never followed Star Trek, couldn’t name an Avenger if you paid them, and knew nothing of the Chronicles of Narnia! LOL! Basically, they did not or could not understand where I was coming from.
After that I knew, that if I wanted fair, knowledgeable, receptive critiques it should be read by someone who shares an interest in my choice of genre, who has an interest in writing or just someone who’s an avid reader. Perhaps, one who’s open to all types of literature? If you don’t approach it with an open mind you just might miss out on something truly exceptional.
Recently, I had the pleasure of receiving critiques (Note: Not all critiques are pleasurable LOL) from a number of individuals who enjoyed my work and gave me very useful ideas on how to enhance my story. You can read your book a hundred times, and not see what another set of eyes can. Those eyes can pluck out scenes that need more detail, or can tell you ways to make a simple sentence more powerful, or in my case the best ways to introduce foreign concepts to my readers without confusion.
Regardless, I still feel a bit of tension each time I present another part of my story. No matter how you approach it, you expose your work and yourself (thoughts, feelings, ideals) to scrutiny. But I believe that taking the step to having your work critiqued is one of the best things you can do for yourself as a writer.
Mari e laipe!
See you soon!
Thanks for visiting ‘Amachi is Hope.’ If you were inspired or felt a connection with today’s blog (or any of my previous entries) please leave a comment. J