How to find someone who can help edit/critique my first draft

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  • #199041
    leelee
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 6

    I recently finished NaNo. I know I need someone (s) to read it and give me feedback. Unfortunately, the friends I have are more of “I’ll read it because you wrote it” friends. Sure they’ll tell me if they like it or not, but I need to find someone Trustworthy (aka won’t steal it), and who can give me real feedback (i.e. this character is underdeveloped, there are inconsistencies, the dialogue needs to be more blah blah blah).

    Also, these friends are not my Ideal Reader (the genre and readership I aim the book towards).

    Anyway, any thoughts of how I can find such a person? Or a group?

    #209186
    jhmcmullen
    Participant
    • Topics - 35
    • Replies - 353

    A couple of possibilities occur to me.

    Essentially, you can do this electronically or physically. You can have a group critique it or a single person. You’ll have to decide which suits you better.

    Electronically, well, this is a board of people who write. If you specify the genre, you can probably find someone here to critique the work. Only you can decide who is trustworthy, but I will say that usually the concern that something will be stolen is not justified. Your mileage will vary, of course.

    Physically, you might try to find a writing group in your area that you like. You’ll have the same concerns about trustworthiness, but at least you’ll know where the people are. Because you’re probably choosing from a smaller selection, make sure these people are sympatico with the genre and style of your novel.’

    Third, you can look for fan groups of the genre or type of your novel. One of them might have your ideal reader in it.

    Great at theory, terrible at practice.

    #209187
    CatP
    Participant
    • Topics - 59
    • Replies - 104

    Congratulations of finishing Nano and having something you wish to let others read for comments.

    The best answer is within Forward Motion, you have a couple of choices.

    Roving Crits is a private board within FM. You can sign up Here

    Roving Crits is specifically for chapters or short stories and is frequented by many FM’ers. Using Roving Crits will allow critters to read part of your story and identify any issues with the writing, the story telling, the technical aspects without committing to reading a whole novel. You’ll get more comments via Roving than you will the second option.

    The second option with Forward Motion is to join a crit cricle, or start one youreself. The details of doing these re Here.

    Personally I would suggest starting with Roving Crits, but either way you will get more benefits by also critting others. The benefits include more reciprocal crits, but also learning from other writers’ mistakes.

    Good luck with it.

    #209188
    Linda Adams
    Participant
    • Topics - 38
    • Replies - 217

    One thing worth noting:

    Make sure you are really ready for a critique. I’ve been in critique groups where people say they want an honest opinion, but even to themselves, they’re not being honest. They think the story is great, and everyone is going to tell them it’s great. Then they get the critique, and it’s a rude shock. Some react badly.

    #209441
    Wandering Author
    Participant
    • Topics - 34
    • Replies - 369
    Linda Adams wrote:
    One thing worth noting:

    Make sure you are really ready for a critique. I’ve been in critique groups where people say they want an honest opinion, but even to themselves, they’re not being honest. They think the story is great, and everyone is going to tell them it’s great. Then they get the critique, and it’s a rude shock. Some react badly.

    This cannot be said loudly enough. Even if you are ready, crits are often painful, because they cause you to see things you missed in your beloved offspring. :) It is a worthwhile pain, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, but if you’re not prepared for that, it’s a bit like having your skin sandblasted…

    Another point. This is your story. I or many others could read it and tell you this character was underdeveloped, that character didn’t seem to have enough to do in the story to justify all the space they took up, the description in that chapter was weak, whatever. But none of us know the story you want to tell. So you want to be careful in listening to the advice of even an informed, “ideal” reader. “This part was boring” is a valid comment – at least for that person. If several people say that about the same part, it probably does need work. But “This part was boring, you should put a car chase in here” is not valid. Only you know if a car chase is the right way to spice up that part of your story. (Or a fight scene, or a kiss, or any other thing you can imagine.) Don’t let readers ideas hijack your story, or you’ll end up unhappy with the result, which will no longer be yours.

    #209415
    leelee
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 6

    Thanks for the information!

    I had thought about Roving Crits, but I’m worried about posting on the internet. I’ve been hearing things that worry me. Not from this site, just the internet in general. Is Roving Crits safe? Also, I know that if I wanted to submit my manuscript (eventually) there are “rules” about whether or not it’s been “published” online…how does Roving Crits deal with those issues?

    Thanks!

    #209455
    Ashe Elton Parker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 431
    • Replies - 9,261

    Roving Crits is behind a signup wall. You have to request permission to post in Roving Crits, and only other people who have been approved to visit Roving Crits can post crits/chapter/stories. For instance, since I am not signed up there, I have no access to any crit circle or Roving Crits–only to the signup request thread. This is done to protect copyright.


    Ashe Elton Parker
    "Just love me, fear me, do as I say, and I will be your slave." ~ David Bowie as Jareth in Labyrinth
    ~*~
    Member since 1998.
    ~*~
    Look me up on Wattpad for some of my books!
    #209452
    jhmcmullen
    Participant
    • Topics - 35
    • Replies - 353

    Edward Willet recently posted his bits of writing advice from his period as writer in residence at (I think) the Regina Library.

    One of them was, “Your work is not as good as you think it is.” He went on to soften it by pointing out that no one’s is.

    It would be lovely to be picked out of slush and move to the pantheon of great writers, and that does happen–but less often than people win the lottery.

    Great at theory, terrible at practice.

    #209456
    Wandering Author
    Participant
    • Topics - 34
    • Replies - 369
    leelee wrote:
    I had thought about Roving Crits, but I’m worried about posting on the internet. I’ve been hearing things that worry me. Not from this site, just the internet in general. Is Roving Crits safe? Also, I know that if I wanted to submit my manuscript (eventually) there are “rules” about whether or not it’s been “published” online…how does Roving Crits deal with those issues?

    Roving Crits is the internet version of a writing group. Showing your work to, or even printing out copies of your work for, such a group does not mean you have ‘published’ your work. On the other hand, taking advantage of CreateSpace’s offer for NaNo winners may qualify as “publication”, even though there are only five copies (because, they assign the work an ISBN – they become its publisher of record). So you do have to be careful; I’d say it’s better to ask a question like this than go ahead and assume it’s safe. I don’t think any serious writer will think less of you for asking.

    Now, I haven’t seen this here, but on other sites, there are people who will argue, essentially, “The site could be hacked, so your work isn’t safe.” Now, this isn’t as trollish as it seems to some people – any site can get hacked. I have enough confidence in the people who run FM that I’ve posted work on the crit boards before (on the old site), so I mean no offense at all to them when I say there is no such thing as a foolproof site. On the other hand, your computer is at least as vulnerable. Often, more so. Even my computer is not any safer than Forward Motion is likely to be, and I take some unusual precautions after some of the things I’ve run into.

    What I’m trying to say is, you’re right to worry, and to think about these things, and to ask about them. I hope you won’t feel embarrassed, just because we’re all saying, “Oh, it’s okay.” We’ve thought about these things – or if we haven’t, we should have – and it’s only because we have that we can explain why, in this case, you’re about as safe as you’re going to get. Forward Motion is literally the only site I know of on the internet (I am not saying there are not others, but if I haven’t personally checked them out, I’m not going to put them on this list) that I’d be willing to post my work on while it was unpublished. (Publication, obviously, is another thing entirely.)

    #209458
    leelee
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 6

    Thank you for this information! It has definitely helped.
    I think I will try Roving Crits :)

    #209457
    leelee
    Participant
    • Topics - 1
    • Replies - 6

    Hence needing good critiques.

    “To write is human, to edit is divine.” – Stephen King

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