|Photo credit: Peter Alfred Hess on Flickr|
With Write on Con gearing up for their annual online writer’s conference (August 13-14), the critique forums have recently opened. This is a great opportunity for PB, MG, YA and NA writers to get their queries, first 250 words and/or first five pages critiqued, as well as a chance for writers of all genres and categories to practice their critiquing skills.
I’ll be the first to admit that for the longest time, I found public critiques enormously intimidating. For years I glanced at forums and online critiques, but I never dared to submit my writing. Truth be told, I was terrified to post my work publicly, only to have it torn apart for all to see. And let’s be honest, it sounds pretty scary.
But last winter I finally participated in a public critique session, and to my surprise, I loved it.
The thing is, getting your work critiqued is always scary. Invariably, it stings, and sometimes it makes you want to hide your work in a hole where no one will ever see it again. But receiving and utilizing critiques is the fastest way I know to improve not only the critiqued work, but your level of skill in the craft of writing.
That being said, public critiques can seem even more terrifying because you’re not just asking one person to tear your work apart—you’re opening it up for anyone who is willing to take the time to point out the flaws in your work. And it’s a little scary, yes, until you consider that you’re all in this together. Every person who critiques your work is looking for a critique as well (and if they critique your work, it’s good etiquette to take the time to critique their entries as well). Everyone is there to learn, and no one is perfect.
The one downside of public critiques is that sometimes you’ll get conflicting advice—one person will say they love your first line and someone else will say to get rid of it, etc. But every time you show your work to more than one person, there’s a chance that you’ll receive conflicting advice—it’s a hazard of critiquing. In the end, it comes down to you deciding what’s best for your writing.
I definitely recommend public critiques to writers of all stages. It’s a fantastic learning experience for all involved, and as a very nice bonus, you’ll end up with much stronger work by the end of it.
Have you ever participated in a public critique? What was your experience like?
Have you ever participated in a public critique? Here's why one writer swears by them. (Click to tweet)
Public critiques may be terrifying, but writer @Ava_Jae believes they're more than worth it. And here's why. (Click to tweet)