I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. With summer half over, you don't have much time left to enjoy all the fun summer has to offer. Don't let it slip away without a day at the beach, a mountain hike, a family BBQ, or that much needed vacation.
This weekend I received an email from a treasured blogger and friend. I'm keeping her name anonymous just in case she doesn't wish to share her story. But this is a dedication to her and our other much needed and often misunderstood friends.
For those of you that are currently looking for a CP or BETA to critique your first born child or fiftieth child make sure you are ready for it. We are all emotionally connected to our works and are very sensitive about criticisms of any kind. After you've poured months, years into you new born how could you not be?
HOWEVER if you decide to make that giant leap and send out you child into the cold, cruel world, thicken your skin and expect the worst. We all want our works to be loved by ALL. But often there will be someone who won't go absolutely nuts over it. They will find plot issues, weak characters, too much description, too vague, too whatever. They will point these flaws out and make suggestions on how to fix them. That is what a CP or BETA will do for you.
My current novel THE BLINDED GARDENER had been sent out to several CPS this summer. I am still waiting for two more critiques before I will finish my final revise.
The four CP'S I sent it to mostly loved my story thankfully, but they did point out a few areas for improvement. With their suggestions, I polished my ms to really shine. Then I received the one critique I was most anxious about. I knew hers would be the most honest, and she would find even the smallest of cracks. And of course, she did.
She was so worried about hurting my feelings and coming off as too rough. She apologized in advance for the harshness of her critique.
The statement took my breath away. After four successful critiques, I was now faced with something that almost terrified me ..... almost. I dived into her pages and pages and pages of suggestions. She DID NOT rip my baby to pieces, she pointed out the flaws.
We must remember these wonderful people put so much time and effort into critiquing. THINK about each suggestion. DON'T take it to heart. Also remember they are here to help. That's the point of sending it to them before you send it to an editor or agent.
After I read through them once, I sat and thought about it for a few days. I went back analyzing each one, correcting my ms as I fixed the issues at hand.
During the process, I emailed her, reassuring her I wasn't upset and repeatedly thanked her for the time she put into this critique. I must also mention that this same CP gave me the ultimate compliment. She said to me that I was one of her favorite authors and would love to read ANYTHING I wrote. WOW, that certainly made my year!
I decided to send her my first novel. This poor baby had gone through over fifty revisions in a three year period. I have been querying it like mad with no success for partials requests or the most treasured full. I had received some wonderful feedback from two editors and critique contests, but they all seemed to feel the beginning wasn't just right. Something was off. They loved the writing, but something was missing.
My CP friend would be the perfect person for this. Her talent for function and flow is exceptional. I also sent her the COMPLETE work with illustrations and all.
I received an email from her stating how much she loved the presentation and couldn't wait to dive into reading it. Then she mentioned how sad she was. Apparently she had given critiques to two other writers and hurt them to the point that they pulled out her writing group. My email helped ease her pain. She is almost considering not doing any more critiquing, except in her writing genres only. Well, I hope I convinced her not to ever give up. Her abilities are outstanding. Sometimes tough love IS necessary.
I know it sometimes hurts to hear negative remarks about our babies, but this is proof that CP'S are here to help us. I am not saying every CP is the perfect match. I've had a few that were totally off the wall and some could be intentionally hurtful. When trusting in a CP, get to know them a bit first. Feel out their personality and read their blogs. This is a relationship that can go on for years if you're lucky.
So before you send out your novel, make sure you are ready to take the good with the bad. We need to do whatever it takes to create the perfect novel. And if it takes a hundred revisions to get it where it needs to be than we WILL do it.
As a final note, remember how special these people really are and put your emotions aside and absorb what they have to say. You most likely won't agree with everything, but you will get enough to really take your novel to the next level.
Have a great day everyone and thank your CP or BETA for giving you their time.