Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Critiquing For Dummies

I just spent the last 48+ hours beta-reading and editing WIPs for two different critique partners. My critiques are not for the faint-of-heart. I am brutal. Luckily, my friends are used to my comments and suggestions...

* Your heroine sure does a lot of deep breathing. I think maybe she has asthma.
* The word "anus" isn't sexy. Just sayin.
* This makes no sense. At all. What the hell are you talking about?
* Who gives a rat's ass what color the pilot's eyes are?
* Did they just boink? I can't tell.
* Why are they fishing? Who cares about fishing. I don't care about fishing.
* How long is this frickin' sex scene anyway?
* I don't think any human being can eat that much food. They would be vomiting by now.
* Omit this whole paragraph. Redundant.
* Omit this whole page. Redundant.
* Omit this whole chapter. Redundant.
* Um, you need to rewrite the whole book.

The amazing part is....we're still friends! Haaaaaaaa!!!!! I also say nice things, too.

* OMG! I am swooning! SWOONING!
* I'm crying. OMG!
* That scene is PURE F*CKIN' GOLD, BABY!
* Your agent is going to poop her pants when she reads that. POOP!
* BEST KISS EVER! *Penny faints*
* Smooth like buttah.
* Haaaaaaa! That is freaking hilarious!
* Now I'm starved. I NEED GELATO!
* Does he have a beard?
* Sex-ay.
* That is soooooooo romantic. OMG. OMG. OMG.

What's the secret to finding a good critique partner? She needs to let you know A) what you're doing well, and  B) what you need to work on. That's it. Everyone has strong points and weak points. Some folks are too sensitive to take criticism, and some folks have hides like a rhinoceros. Luckily, my critique partners are used to me, and they trust my judgment. They also ignore me whenever they want to.

The hummingbird is for Bobbi Baby who was an extremely good sport following her first major critique. She's a champ! With a super adorable book.

My goal for today is writing my own book, Sweet Adventure (aka Yeti Will Make You Deady).


Unknown said...

I fear you, but I respect your honesty! :)

Unknown said...

This post proves that I need to find a critique partner or, at the very least, another writer to talk to. I think my lack of one/exposure to authors is why it takes me 6+ months to write a book and the published version is 400 pages.

Scariest comment "Um, you need to rewrite the whole book."

Favorite comment "Your agent is going to poop her pants when she reads that. POOP!"

Steph from fangswandsandfairydust.com said...

Too Too Funny!

Unknown said...

If I was dying this would send me to my grave early, as I choked on the tears of laughter

NUTS, absolutely wonderfully, delightfully, gorgeously NUTS

and critiques delivered with love should always be embraced, even when so brutal

I Lurv YOU xxxxx

Victoria Morgan said...

Surviving Penelope's Critiques 101: Lots of chocolate and alcohol. Jars of Nutella also work... But it can be done. Just sayin -- They weren't just fishing -- it was a metaphor for reeling each other in. Or was it a simile? Who the hell knows b/c you didn't give a damn about fishing. :) I still love you. Sometimes.

Penny Watson said...

Amber...I think my critique partners develop eye twitches when I get their WIPs! Hee hee!

Penny Watson said...

Penny...You can't write in a vacuum! You need feed-back. It's super important and so helpful.

I just wrote that comment about the "poop"!!!!

Penny Watson said...

Thanks, Steph!

Penny Watson said...

Tom...I always deliver with love! :^)

Penny Watson said...

Heeeeee! Vicki! Haaaaa! You guys totally need SURVIVING PENELOPE'S CRITIQUES 101!!!!!

Chocolate, alcohol, nutella. You guys are seriously good sports to put up with me! But you know I'm your biggest fan!

Julia Barrett said...

Oh you just made me spit out my coffee! I adore you.

Penny Watson said...

Julia...sorry. :^)

Heidenkind said...

So you don't subscribe to the Quentin Tarantino school of critique, where he doesn't want to know what anyone thinks? lol

Penny Watson said...

Tasha...God bless QT! Hee hee! If you are honestly only writing/creating for yourself, then I guess you can create in a vacuum. But if you are offering your creation for public consumption, you might want to get a few other opinions on the matter.

I give my books to about 5 beta readers, and then an editor. If 1 person doesn't like a scene, I'll take that with a grain of salt. If 6 people tell me a scene isn't working, it's not working.

Jessi said...

Love your comments. They are very much in line with the kings of input me and my wonderful cupcake crew CPs exchange, only we are maybe a bit more subdued...we use fewer caps and exclamation points.

Glad you have a good support system for your writing, Penny. Good CPs are hard to find and such a blessing!

Unknown said...

Plz, Penny, never change. You are hilarious and awesome, as always. "POOP!" is high praise. ;)

Penny Watson said...

Jessi, you are so right. It's important to get good critique partners who "get" you and are also honest.

I use a lot of caps, exclamation points, and cuss words in my comments. :^)

Penny Watson said...

Haaaa! Thanks, Lindsay. It just doesn't get better than POOP!

Geekamicus said...

The Quentin Tarantino school of critique scares me a little... He cuts off your ear, but the music is good while he's doing it?

Penny, I want you as a critique partner. Do you think the Mass. is too far away for me to join your group? I'd bring the martinis.

CBrandstatter said...

So, I find myself reading the books you love/like! And I must say, you are marvelous!!! Really enjoyed the Gnomes and all the other reads you like!! Hope you aren't feeling stalked. ;-) I do not believe others fear you.
And I love the lemon lipbalm!! Yum!!

Chris Brandstatter

CBrandstatter said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Penny Watson said...

Geek...I would never attempt to figure out what is in QT's mind. Never. He scares me!

Haaaaa! You want me to torture you? Seriously? Send your stuff anytime, and if you're in Mass stop by with the martinis!

Penny Watson said...

Hi Chris! Stalk away! So glad you like the lip balm. The lemon flavor is the best!

Geekamicus said...

Penny, let me screw my courage to the sticking place and I'll get back to you. I /will/ take you up on this, it just depends on if I need alcohol before, during or after.