SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER. She's Ashlyn Chase, my critique partner and, I'm blessed to add, my friend.
Since she writes light-hearted paranormal, she was great help when I decided to add a bit of the supernatural to SINS OF THE HIGHLANDER. Our heroine, Elspeth, has the gift of Sight and our hero Mad Rob has frequent vivid dreams of his dead wife that convince him she's trying to communicate with him.
Please welcome Ashlyn Chase to the New Year's Blog Bash!
Ashlyn Chase: Mia Marlowe is my critique partner, so I’m relating this month’s theme to my good fortune. If you look at it correctly, critiques are a second chance to make a first impression. Do you need a critique of your work before you turn it in to your editor (or self publish?)
Furthermore, even the best writing leaves opportunities for improvement that the author can't or won't catch. You owe it to your readers, and to yourself, to take advantage of those opportunities. Methods for acquiring critiques vary widely in terms of cost, speed, and required effort.
In general, you have three choices: critique groups, partners, and critique services. Critiques groups and partners are usually the cheapest way to get your writing critiqued. They require a time investment, because you'll be expected to critique other writers' work in exchange for their critique of yours. A partner is generally faster than a group since you’ll have to take your turn after a few other people have had theirs.
If you receive more than one critique, you're likely to get contradictory feedback. So what do you do? First, recognize that whatever other people think, you are the author. Only you can decide what works for you and for your story. Having said that, consider each comment carefully. Gracefully accept any feedback you’re lucky enough to receive, then evaluate what you want to do about it later.
Critique services are usually the fastest way to get a critique. If you want professional feedback quickly, this may be the option for you. Prices vary, so shop around. If you can't afford to submit your entire manuscript, send an excerpt. You can learn a lot about your writing from the critique of twenty or thirty pages.
First, they're not personal. They're intended to make your writing better. Your critiquer is genuinely trying to help you. Second, you asked for, and possibly paid for, her honest opinion. Don't get upset when she gives it to you. Third, no matter what problems she finds, you can correct them.
If you have the opportunity, ask questions to clarify your critiquer's comments: "Can you give me an example?" or "Do you think it would help if I made this change?" These kinds of questions are productive, and her answers will help you make the appropriate revisions.
Mia: Thanks for sharing, Ashlyn. You forgot to mention that copious amounts of coffee, Diet Coke and other caffeine delivery systems make for great critique sessions!
Leave a comment or question for Ashlyn and you'll be entered in this hour's drawing for a Kindle version of TOUCH OF A THIEF (another one of my titles she wrestled through with me!) Be sure to leave your email address so we can contact you.