Insecure Writer’s Support Group

InsecureWritersSupportGroup

Yes, it’s that time! Check out other insecure writers, too!

This month, my insecurity is not directed at my writing… well it is, but in a round about way.

Like most writers, I have critique partners. For those who aren’t writers, this means that they read my work and I read theirs looking for inconsistencies, grammar errors, and plot holes.

This should be my cup of coffee (Yeah, I’m pro-caffienating for the day). I read really fast, have a penchant for remembering plot and character traits, and one of my pet peeves is inconsistencies in plot and characters.

Example A

Unlike a lot of critiquers, I try to keep my comments concise and fairly emotionally neutral. I might cheer and tell you about what I like, but what I about when I think you’re wrong? And really, who the hell am I to decide that you misstepped when writing characters that you know?

I use phrases like, ‘I think’ and ‘it feels’ and ‘it seems’. Things that will let the other writer know I’m stating an opinion. Because there is nothing worse than a declarative statement that you screwed up your own story. Not that I feel that way, but some critiquers really do write like their opinion is truth, and that they know your world and characters better than you do.

And I resolutely avoid ‘fixing’ people’s sentences and whatnot. On the rare occasion I think that a little editing will improve the flow (especially on conversations), I always, always, always finish my edits with: Or something like that. Write in your characters’ voice (which you do far better than me), but I think something along those lines will help.

Why do I do this?

Good question, Troy.

Mainly, I’m still not sure I always make the best choices for my own stories, so who the hell am I to tell you about yours?

It’s also why I haven’t hung out a shingle for this sort of thing. I have often considered selling my editorial services. I can read a 90k word novel in about six hours. So  I could, in theory, charge fifteen dollars, read your book twice (or three times) in a weekend, and write up notes. Then discuss with you the things I noted, and why I felt that way.

But, again, who the hell am I? I write werewolf stories for my own amusement. There are certain popular tropes that I just hate. I’m super progressive (something that absolutely shows up in my own work), and…

Yeah…

A little more faith in my own talent, and maybe I wouldn’t worry so much about my opinion, and whether or not I had the right to say something about your story.

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2 thoughts on “Insecure Writer’s Support Group

  1. This is an insecurity that kind of bugs me.
    When you critique, you offer your opinion. That’s all we do as critiquers, reviewers, readers. ALL feedback, even from publishers, editors, and professional reviewers, is opinion based.

    The constant need to remind sensitive authors that “this is only my opinion, of course!!” (smiley emoticon), or having to add “just a suggestion!” to the end of every notation, is exhausting, for me. I have simply stopped critiquing people who need that kind of coddling.
    If I write “This part would read better moved down two paragraphs” that is an opinion. Tacking on “just my opinion” is redundant.

    But I admit that I am very good at dismissing advice. I am not a sensitive writer, when it comes to critiques. (In other ways… oh my god. But not with feedback usually) So I have no problem understanding that whatever my critters say is their opinion, no matter how they phrase it, and I’m rarely insulted.

    When you say: “I’m still not sure I always make the best choices for my own stories, so who the hell am I to tell you about yours?”
    My answer is: you are a reader. How well you write, or even IF you write, is irrelevant.

    Even if I think your opinion is “wrong” for me, I still need (and want) to hear it. Because chances are, other readers will think just like you.

    So I say you should give all your opinions. Couch them in explanations if you must, but I think you would be doing your fellow writers a disservice if you did not point out every clunky phrase, every questionable action, every odd word that you notice.

    Like

  2. Stephen Tremp says:

    Edie, I love my critique partners. I don;t give them any instructions. I simply allow them to reply with whatever feedback they want. Some give specifics such as typos while others prefer to respond in general terms. Its all good as i’m just thankful people take the time to read my stuff. Those extra set of eyes are vital to a writer.

    Good luck to you!

    Stephen Tremp
    IWSG Co-host
    http://www.stephentremp.com

    Like

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