Friday, July 26, 2013

The Value in Being a Critiquer

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve run into a bit of a stone wall with regards to my new MG fantasy. So this week I dedicated myself to going back and working on my fan fiction story. Since it’s in the revision stage, I get to utilize a different part of my brain, which lets the creative side get some much needed rest.

One of the things I’ve noticed is that the quality of my chapters varies significantly. The first several chapters flow nicely (finally!), but later chapters aren’t as smooth as I remember them being. I suppose this should make me sad (and it does), but not as much as I would have expected. Though I’m disappointed these chapters need more work, I’m pleased my inner editor’s eye is getting better at spotting problems. Paragraphs that seemed fine six months ago now seem weak and flabby.

So why is my inner editor improving? I suspect it’s because of all the critiquing I’ve been doing lately. Searching for bloated paragraphs and inconsistent logic in someone else’s work makes it easier to spot the same problems in your own work. After I've dinged an author for using an awkward sentence structure several times in a chapter, I can't help but spot the same problem in my chapters.  So my advice is to never stop critiquing. And remember, no matter how great your inner editor becomes, you still need to let someone else critique your own work. You’re too close to your own story to see all the problems. Besides, by letting someone else critique your story, you’re helping their inner editor grow too. It’s a win-win situation.

Hmmmm… Will my inner editor ever stop getting better or am I doomed to forever return to my previous chapters and discover they need more work?  Scary thought.

2 comments:

  1. LOL - It's a process, isn't it? I wonder what someone like Stephen King thinks when he looks at his earlier works. I know I shudder when I read mine.

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  2. I think your tastes will change even if your inner editor stops learning new no-nos. I used to be horrified at sentence fragments--unless they were very short and obviously intentional. But now I've learned some people really don't talk in complete sentences, so I let them go. That's either slipping or adapting depending on how you look at it. So there's another danger to add to your list.

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