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Im 5 chapters into my first novel and I don't like to jump way ahead  but I'm curious to know when folks start their critique stage? Do you revise a couple of times before sending out to critique groups?  Im interested in knowing other people's thought process after the first draft is done---more specifically when you start sending your MS to critique groups.
#1 - September 23, 2018, 04:20 PM

For me it differs from manuscript to manuscript. My last novel I was doing something wildly different from what I had written before, so I needed to get a full, clean draft before I showed it to anyone. My current project I got feedback after the first chapter because I wanted to know if it was worth continuing. I would trust your gut to a certain extent.

I also frequently think about what kind of feedback I need and want. If it's still very rough, and I know it needs more work on characterization, tightening the plot, and setting, then I won't send it out, because I don't want to hear that I need to work on characterization, plot, and setting--I already know (and it's a waste of my readers' time!)! But if I don't know if it's working, or I did a major revision and want affirmation that it's improved, or I know it has problems, but I'm not sure how to fix them... that's when I ask for critique.
#2 - September 23, 2018, 04:45 PM
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I think its best to get your chapter or full manuscript in the best shape you know how to get it before sending it out for crit. If not, you're going to get a bunch of comments on things you may already know you need to improve. Especially when it comes to spelling, sentence structure, ect. Just my two cents.  :parrot
#3 - September 23, 2018, 05:36 PM
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I keep things pretty close to myself until probably a 2nd or 3rd draft, until I've done the best I could. I often don't know the point of the story until about this time and I don't like other people's opinions until I can figure things out myself. So often I think I'm writing about one thing but during revision I can *see* more clearly what the story really is about. Does that make sense? There's so much subtext.

However, for the novel I just published, I had a very clear idea from the very beginning--I already had a working outline--so was sharing the story with my writing partner week after week. What I liked about this arrangement is that whenever I wanted some cool plot twist, my writing partner made me think through it and kept me true to my characters.

Unless you have a trusted writing partner, I'd keep working on the story so that you can remain true to *your* vision. Happy :writing3
#4 - September 23, 2018, 05:46 PM
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I also wait until I've taken it as far as I can on my own.
#5 - September 23, 2018, 08:19 PM
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Before sending out a book for a full critique, I do try to get it into the best shape I can first. But I also have a critique group and we crit up to 3000 words at a time. So usually we are sending out a chapter or two while we're still in the writing stage. I like both kinds. I feel like I can get some feedback in the planning stage (and let's face it, sometimes I just need that deadline staring me in  the face to keep writing), and then I can get feedback on how the thing is working as a whole when I send out a polished whole book to a crit partner.
#6 - September 24, 2018, 04:50 AM

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Good Morning! I've read through the comments and found that most people like to make sure their MS is polished and go through revisions a couple of times before handing it out to critique groups. I like the idea of keeping things close to myself, making sure to rid of all the errors that I know I need to improve on. When I finish my first draft, (And I WILL finish  :yeah) I plan to take this approach. Thanks so much for the all of the advice !

 :turtle
#7 - September 24, 2018, 07:11 AM

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I wait until I have the manuscript in the best shape in can be first.
#8 - September 24, 2018, 11:03 AM

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Pertaining to my novels, no one sees or even hears what the story's about until I have completed the first draft, took some time away, and returned to re-read, re-write and ask myself a set of questions.  :-X All this amounts to a complete second draft. Only then does my first beta (not a group) reads and comments. :shh From there I go for draft #3 with my beta's comments.

My agent doesn't see it until at least two betas have given feedback.

I have helped others with rough first drafts and can attest that it is too easy to tire these kind folks with a very unpolished story. :uhuh Beta readers are precious, and they should at least get to enjoy the story somewhat if they are to do this thankless and significant work, reading for us. :hug So to my thinking they deserve a thought-out and polished draft. :yup
Of course, critics catch not only typos but also absurd inconstancies, even after I've done what I could. :embarrassed2 That is the immeasurable value of another pair of eyes that are not attached to my brain.  :eyeballs

When it comes to shorter stories (picture books) I am more relaxed. It's still first draft (mum's the word from my end  :-X) and a polish, but those can be quicker, sooner, because  the time commitments from another reader is so much shorter. My picture book critique group has seen a few "hot off the computer" stories from me, though I still did a few thorough readings  on my own before subjecting them to it.  :grouphug2


And always share the complete story, regardless of length.  :typing Feedback needs to evaluate based on how you wrapped it up also.  :donut2
#9 - September 24, 2018, 04:03 PM
« Last Edit: September 24, 2018, 07:33 PM by 217mom »
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Mirka, great point about making the reading as enjoyable as possible for our beta fish  :shark
#10 - September 24, 2018, 05:41 PM
BOUND (Bodach Books, 2018)
TEN EASTER EGGS (Scholastic, 2015)
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I just had another thought on this. Sometimes it's good to get feedback on the idea before you do anything else. A good group can be great for brainstorming where something could go. That may even precede a draft.

I have more than one group and post on the crit board here. These only take a chapter or so at a time. (Fulls for PBs, short stories, and poems.)I also have beta readers who go through a full novel. I like to have at least one who didn't see any part before and one who has seen sections or the full in stages. One can tell me if it shines and the other if I pulled off what I was aiming for and made improvements effectively. There is value in every read.
#11 - September 24, 2018, 06:28 PM
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wow, thank you all so much for the insightful comments on this matter. I'm sure as heck taking notes on this so that I can have a sense of direction when I reach to this stage of my book journey.  :parrot
#12 - September 24, 2018, 07:04 PM

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lateef-omidiji, as you can tell there are no set rules, and you will learn the best way for you to do your best work. As Debbie Vilardi said,^ it may be a very good idea for those who can work this way to check their ideas out with trusted colleagues before starting. I know some check with their agents or editors. But for me, I have this peculiar thing where if I talk about a story before I do the hard work of sitting and writing it down, I lose the motivation to actually write it. So I have to keep it to myself until it is in fact in readable form.
#13 - September 24, 2018, 07:39 PM
« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 01:27 PM by 217mom »
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