Pain is Weakness Leaving the Manuscript

Small spiders. Heights. Durian. Bugs in general. Waking up at, or before, 5am. Shots. Big spiders. Deep water where I can’t see the bottom. Did I mention spiders?

Big Spiders

There are very few things in this world that inspire the same level of horror in me… But this does.

Are you ready?? Brace yourself.

….

Submitting a story for critique. *cringe*

This has got to be one of the scariest things for me as I try to improve my writing. I get butterflies in my stomach. I break out in a cold sweat, the cursor hovering over the ‘send’ button. I hold my breath like I’m about to get a shot as I click ‘send.’ (Or like I’ve just seen a spider.) And I immediately need chocolate, just like the kids in Harry Potter when they’re up against the dementors. I don’t know if other writers suffer from this fear, or if it’s just me. Despite that, it really has been the very best tool I’ve found for learning about writing. Whether I’m being critiqued, or critiquing someone else’s work, I’m always learning something.

Every critique I’ve gotten has been very detailed, and pointed out several things I did well, and several more I need to work on. The writers doing the critiques take their time, and always have helpful suggestions. You can submit one chapter at a time, or even trade a finished story with someone else for a full critique. I’ve never gotten a mean or rude critique, but I won’t lie – you do get honest feedback. And some of it is not always fun to hear, but they are always respectful. Neither of the websites below tolerate what they call “flames.”

I’m beginning to wonder if I have a little masochistic streak in me, because I keep going back for more. “Demons of Harsh Reality” indeed… 🙂 But I do really love and appreciate those kind, patient people who critique my stories, and I am truly thankful for all of their help.

So, here are the sites for you to check out:

Critters – This website covers a very wide range of genres – graphic novels, non-fiction, mainstream, and romance are a few – but seems to really specialize in sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. It doesn’t seem quite as user-friendly to me as Romance Writers Community, and I think the point system they’ve set up has more rules. For example, I think after several weeks of not submitting a critique or chapter, you’ll be marked as suspended until you catch up on critiques. I don’t think that’s such a bad thing though, since that kept me in line with deadlines to meet every week. My only complaint is that there aren’t enough romance writers signed up right now to make it possible to keep up with the points system in the romance workshop every week. Otherwise, it’s a really great resource for getting some serious critiquing done.

Romance Writers Community – This is the website I submit my stories to now. It’s a romance only online critique group with a couple thousand members. Writers usually get an average of five critiques per chapter. They have a point system as well, but no deadlines. You have to critique two chapters before each chapter you send in. So far, I don’t have any complaints about this site. It’s user-friendly, and you get e-mail notifications about each new post. They also have active moderators that will contact you directly, and in my experience within one day, if there is any problem with your post, whether it’s a critique or chapter. I also really like that you can submit any sub-genre of romance too – paranormal, historical, young adult, mainstream, etc. And they have a few different forums, each focusing on a different thing – the main group where you can ask craft questions, the critique group, a social group, a reading group, and a writing prompt group.

Good luck, and happy writing! 🙂

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7 thoughts on “Pain is Weakness Leaving the Manuscript

  1. I like this very much. You sound really honest, and very genuine. It is almost as if we are at Applebee’s having lunch, and talking about your writing. Have a good day, Sheron

  2. I agree, critiques are valuable. Criticism — not meant in a bad way, necessarily — is just part of life as a writer. If your work is accepted and appears in some public venue, people will comment on it, review it, and generally say things good and bad. As your hand hovers over that “send” button, just remember how much harder it will be to get a bad review after something is published than a critique aimed to make something better before it’s published!

    • paigeaddams says:

      Lol, very, very true – that’s about a billion times scarier! 🙂 I know I’ve got a lot to learn about writing, and I don’t always necessarily follow all the grammar rules. I’m also pretty bad with showing/tellling and head-hopping. *Especialy* the showing/telling. Without putting the work into my writing to improve it – and hitting that intimidating little “send” button is a big part of that work – I know I may never make it to the point where my writing is even out there to get a bad review. Lol, I’ve got a loooong way to go before I can deliver that killer first line to hook an agent or editor. I am so blessed and thankful to have such awesome people around to give me good and honest – sometimes hard to hear – critiques. 🙂

  3. yhosby says:

    My favorite part of editing is getting feedback from critique partners. I love to hear excitement about a scene or character. I also appreciate honest criticism–especially if they add how I can improve something. I’m always looking toward the finish line–my final draft (manuscript).

    Keep smiling,
    Yawatta

    P.S. I see a lot of people mention critiquecircle.com. Have you heard anything about it?

    • paigeaddams says:

      Lol, I know just what you mean. There is nothing like that feeling when you write/edit that last line in a final draft. I feel like going out to celebrate. 🙂 I’ve only finished two novels so far, one years and years ago when I first started writing that I’m changing a little to fit into the world I’ve created here, and one I finished last year that I’m going through the editing process with. I’m hoping to find an agent for it this year. I’ve never tried critiquecircle.com, but I did pop over there and check it out when I read your comment. From what I saw it looks like a good one to try. I may not try it just yet though – I’m doing a lot of critiquing over at RWC – but I would like to in the future. I havn’t heard anything about it from others yet. Let me know what it’s like if you decide to try it out. 🙂

      • yhosby says:

        I’ll probably never find any time to try it out. In between critiquing my writer group’s members stories and sometimes popping over on Absolute Write Share Your Work, I doubt I could commit to a website like critiquecircle. They’d probably kick me out after a 2 week hiatus from me LOL.

        Keep smiling,
        Yawatta

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