Sunday, November 13, 2011

When to get critiques?

Anyone who has been writing for a while knows that getting feedback on your work is an essential part of the process. It can also be a painful part, but no less essential. But at what point do you ask for feedback?

I have one critique partner who asks for feedback as she goes. Every chapter she writes gets put up for critique as she writes it, and she polishes to critiques as she goes.

Personally, I prefer to blast through a first draft quickly without any feedback. I then go back and revise the first draft before anyone sees it. So, no one sees my work until it's at least a second draft.

My reasons? I believe a lot in the power of the subconscious when it comes to story telling. When I write, I'm often not thinking about structure and beats and character arcs. I'm just trying to get the story onto the page before my tenuous grasp on it loosens. After I've done that initial purge, I can go back and make it work as a satisfying, well paced story.

If I asked for critiques as I wrote, a lot of my instinctive storytelling ability might get chopped out. I often write something that at the time means nothing, only to find it becomes very important as I move through the story. If I got critiques on individual chapters, my reviewers would see those little nothings and suggest I cut them, not knowing that the scene or piece of information might be crucial later on.

When do you get your critiques? As you write? After a few drafts? I'm interested....


  1. I'm finding that I might have people look at it, but I put it in a file and look it over when I'm ready to edit anyway. Go figure

  2. I have a strong urge to get people to critique as I write-mostly because I keep hoping someone will tell me it's awesome and to keep going, but I've discovered it completely damages my ability to finish a story. Even with the positive feedback, if it doesn't click with my vision of things, it throws me off track and makes me second guess myself, which means never finishing.

    I'm with you on this one.

  3. It varies for me. I usually have one person who reads as I'm going. It really helps me make sure I'm going in the right direction. Helps me get reader reaction as I'm going. I don't always change what they say, but it gives me something to think about and there are times I wonder why I didn't see it and then it helps so I don't have to change as much later.

    Then I have my other readers who read the whole thing at the end. It's a process that works pretty well for me.

  4. I'm with you. I finish my first draft, edit, edit and edit again. Then i send it out to get critiqued.