(My Horny Hump Day post is here.)

The first Wednesday of every month is the posting-time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.

I often feel as though I’m in a minority of writers these days who doesn’t have a team of critique partners or beta readers. It would be nice to have people willing to read and constructively critique my work, but things just haven’t worked out. I actually got some e-mails from interested people back in June, as the result of some CP mixers, but I feel really bad I wasn’t able to respond because I was so busy with camp. Would it be too late to respond to some of them now?

I found someone through Ladies Who Critique who read the first chapter of my Russian novel, but even though she said she really liked it, she never got back to me again. (I’ve since made a number of significant edits and rewrites on that first chapter, after having thought I was finally done.)

Then there was the failed connection with the writer who volunteered to read the entire manuscripts of everyone planning to participate in a historical contest that fell through. Some of my readers are acquainted with her, which is why she’s going unnamed. You know, if she really didn’t have the time or interest to read a historical saga, she could’ve at least gotten back to me and told me that, or asked if I had anything that was shorter.

I spent a huge amount of time and effort editing, rewriting, revising, and polishing my Russian novel over and over and over again, an entire decade after finishing the first draft. This person didn’t even realize the sheer amount of garbage from the original 1993 material I completely junked or radically rewrote.

It took a hell of a lot of work to bring that book out of its ridiculous beginnings to a mature, complex historical saga and love story. All she saw was a number, and didn’t even bother to read even one chapter or section to see WHY the story needs to be so long. Who expects a Russian novel to be short anyway?

And I had a rather negative experience with a would-be beta reader who’s a lot younger than I am and who apparently comes from a much different school of thought regarding critiquing and writing. When did it become acceptable to ONLY point out what you didn’t like, instead of equally pointing out things you did like?

Well, if a would-be beta even takes you to task for using a font that isn’t the precious, saintly Times New Roman (which makes my eyes bleed), chances are it’s not a good match anyway. After 19 years, Palatino feels like home. I’d rather go back to Helvetica, which was the default on the older Macs I grew up with, than EVER use TNR. At least Helvetica has a personality and looks distinguished.

Palatino is elegant, timeless, beautiful.
Helvetica has a modern, distinguished look.
Times New Roman is so tiny, generic, and boring, and makes my eyes bleed.

5 thoughts on “IWSG—Working without Critique Partners

  1. I’ve read a couple really good articles on how to ask for a CP or beta. They are helpful. You’re right finding someone who is a good fit for you, and who understands your genre, and has the time…and…and… It’s a lot of factors. Good luck in finding someone who can encourage you and offer you constructive insights. I went my first rounds with a CP and it was helpful but I’ll be at it again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Honestly, it’s as if rude is the default behavior anymore. I haven’t gotten to the point of needing a beta reader or crit partner yet, but you’ve given me some things to consider.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gosh, finding the right match is SO HARD… man, the last critique I did the person didn’t even say thank you–and I put hours into that crit. (That’s one way to never have me read your work again,LOL) I’ve got 4 people I trust implicitly with my work–and I swear the stars aligned for me to connect with them. And I bet it’s hard to find someone who would be worthy of your Russian novel… you’re so smart, Carrie-Anne, and essentially, you’re wanting someone to crit your work who isn’t below your level! I swear it’s easy to find readers for people who write YA fantasy, but it’s got to be crazy hard to find someone with the capability who can crit your level of work! In a month after my revisions, I’d be happy to dip in and see if I think I have anything to offer, though I’m intimidated by such a “smart” project! LOL 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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