SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Critiques

Discussion started on

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
I'm working on my first novel & am wondering what you usually do re: critiques. (I'm a picture book writer used to swapping whole texts).

Should I start with just a look at the first chapter/s? or is it ok to ask for a look at the whole text?

Why types of critiques do you seek & why?

Thanks!
#1 - May 22, 2017, 07:23 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region florida
Congrats for writing your first novel! I started with picture books, too, and  still love working on them.

My favorite way to have novels critiqued is to run them through both online and in person groups, chunks at a time. This way, if I have something major to fix, I can work it through the whole manuscript before they see future pieces of it. Online groups vary--I'm in one now that critiques up to 4200 words twice a month. I've been in others that allowed 15 or 20 pages twice a month.

After they've been run through and revised as well as I can get them, I love sending the full manuscript to crit buddies. I also love getting paid critiques at conferences once the beginnings have been revised quite a bit and are in good shape. I've also had full paid critiques, which are extremely helpful.

I wrote most of my novels during NaNoWriMo, so I've had the whole story written before starting to send chunks through my groups. Of course it all needs tons of revisions first, but I find it easier to have the extremely rough draft in place before getting critiques. I feel like I can't really get a good grasp on the beginning until I've reached the end. Plus, I get to know the characters so much better as the first draft continues. The stronger I can make my manuscripts before sending them to my groups, the deeper they're able to dig in their feedback.
#2 - May 22, 2017, 10:14 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region houston
I started out taking one chapter at a time to my critique group, which met twice a month. Then when the book was finished, they'd read the whole thing. I did the same with an online group. This was a slow process, but if you have a good group, it's a good way to start out. Later (my IRL) group moved to sending 50 pages ahead of time twice a month. This worked for a couple of us but burned out our members who didn't write that quickly. Now I'm at the point where I'm mostly interested in full manuscript swaps, though it's still fun to meet with other writers a couple of times a month for chat, brainstorming, and encouragement.

#3 - May 22, 2017, 11:07 AM
http://www.vonnacarter.com
Book Friends Bookshop
KidLit Agents/Editors at Conferences, Workshops/Retreats/Online Workshops
twitter @VonnaCarter

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
Thanks, it's great to hear what other people are doing & what works for them. I did have a critique of my first little bit of writing as a means of encouragement to get started. Now I've started the second draft and feel like I'm not quite ready to share it yet.
#4 - May 22, 2017, 01:36 PM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
I have two groups that do a chapter a month, but I've also exchanged full manuscripts. They serve a different purpose. The chapter a month people are looking at the scene and sentence level, but don't remember what they read ten months ago. The folks who see the full are better able to focus on the big picture. This is how a learned a subplot wasn't working as well as I thought. The changes went back to the local groups. As I get to the end of the manuscript with the groups, I like to find one person who hasn't read any of it. After all, the editors and agents will be in that situation. Hopefully this time, changes will be minor.  Also, I need to be sure I haven't dropped a thread or introduced a continuity error.
#5 - May 28, 2017, 07:02 PM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
Thanks Debbie, that makes a lot of sense. I think that method would work well for me too.
#6 - May 30, 2017, 04:44 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region ireland
Can't offer any advice:I just chimed in to research the responses of others.
My only tip is to research your critique group and its members a little before joining. The one I was in had one member who was a little too personal with her suggestions which made it really hard to step back and take on board her suggestions.
I have a query of my own, actually. When you do join a critique group, do you try join who writes in the same genre as you, or does it matter?
#7 - May 31, 2017, 07:45 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wisconsin
I have a query of my own, actually. When you do join a critique group, do you try join who writes in the same genre as you, or does it matter?

Fiona, that's a really good question. I think it would be really helpful if you'd start a separate thread on that.
#8 - May 31, 2017, 09:59 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region ireland
Fiona, that's a really good question. I think it would be really helpful if you'd start a separate thread on that.

Me? Start a new thread? I would never even conceive of it. :muahaha :pickme :pickme
Okay, I will.
I'll post a link here.
Couldn't think of an appropriate name, so please don't cringe!
#9 - June 01, 2017, 04:04 AM

New Poster
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region newengland
I am a newbie to this genre (I am a nature writer) so please excuse my naivete, but how would I go about locating a Critique Group?
#10 - July 02, 2017, 03:29 PM
"Nothing will ever be attempted, if all possible objections must be first overcome."
--Samuel Johnson 1759

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region cencal
Frederick,
There are places on this board where you can look for a critique group and/or post your interest in forming a group.  You might also want to contact your local SCBWI chapter and see if they have openings in groups in your area.
#11 - July 02, 2017, 03:36 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Booth Brothers: Drama, Fame & the Death of Lincoln
Capstone: September 1, 2017

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
Frederick,
There are places on this board where you can look for a critique group and/or post your interest in forming a group.  You might also want to contact your local SCBWI chapter and see if they have openings in groups in your area.

Also check with local librarians and booksellers. Sometimes they know of groups. I've also found critique partners by attending conferences of writing classes. Your chapter and the Blueboards are probably the best place to start though.
#12 - July 02, 2017, 04:21 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region ireland
Also check with local librarians and booksellers. Sometimes they know of groups. I've also found critique partners by attending conferences of writing classes. Your chapter and the Blueboards are probably the best place to start though.
It is so apparent that children's writers and illustrators are taken a bit more seriously in your part of the world. Our Scoobie members are few and far, literally.
I think it is important to join critique groups but sometimes it's hard to appreciate the critique given, particularly if the critique is used to working in a different genre.
#13 - July 03, 2017, 01:13 AM

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Moderator
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region longislandny
It is so apparent that children's writers and illustrators are taken a bit more seriously in your part of the world. Our Scoobie members are few and far, literally.
I think it is important to join critique groups but sometimes it's hard to appreciate the critique given, particularly if the critique is used to working in a different genre.


I agree. That's where forums like this one come in. You can get crit partners who know your genre without leaving you home or coffee shop.
#14 - July 03, 2017, 07:56 AM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region ireland
I agree. That's where forums like this one come in. You can get crit partners who know your genre without leaving you home or coffee shop.
You can also get support.
I've been getting it from nearest and dearest. Forty four is a bit old to be writing for children!
Thankfully, John knows better. Literally!
#15 - July 03, 2017, 11:14 AM

Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region canadaeast
You're never too old to write for kids!
#16 - July 03, 2017, 11:53 AM

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region florida
I agree that you're never too old to write for kids! I don't think my inner child will ever grow old. It also helps to have children or be around children who are the target age of your genre.

I'm so sorry that SCBWI isn't as active near you, Fiona. Does your region help set up local critique groups?

I agree with Debbie that online critiques are wonderful, too. I've always been active in online groups as well as in person groups and think they both have a lot to offer. As an SCBWI member, you can critique and receive critiques on the Blueboard! You can also find people to swap critiques with, too, as well as online groups with openings.
#17 - July 03, 2017, 08:05 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region ireland
It is so apparent that children's writers and illustrators are taken a bit more seriously in your part of the world. Our Scoobie members are few and far, literally.
I think it is important to join critique groups but sometimes it's hard to appreciate the critique given, particularly if the critique is used to working in a different genre.

Must check it out at some stage. My internet connection is dodgy right now.
Mindy:it's not for the want of trying, as they say. Just wrote a blog post which has gone on the SCBWI Ireland blog on the meaning of being a member. Love it here!
On the other topic, we all know that age SHOULD be irrelevant when writing, but it isn't. So many times I've had to say "you do it!" through gritted teeth.
Thanks, Debbie.

#18 - July 04, 2017, 12:56 AM
« Last Edit: July 04, 2017, 01:00 AM by thunderingelephants »

Members:

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.