Friday, August 13, 2010

What Kind of Writer Mama Are You?

This morning I watched a mom being interviewed about her daughter's incarceration and trip to rehab. Every time she was asked a question about her daughter's behavior and whether or not it would change, the mom skirted the question by pointing out something someone else did wrong.

How are kids supposed to learn and improve, if the parent refuses to look at what needs work?

This applies to writers too. We birth our manuscripts after long labors. Our stories are our babies. It's hard to hear negative things about them, but we must. If we don't listen, we'll keep making the same mistakes. We need an outsider's opinion on our beloved creations.

I love my critique group. There are seven of us, and everyone brings something different to the table. When it's my turn to submit, I squirm, because if my story is trite, they will tell me. The feedback is not to be mean. We encourage and celebrate with each other too. But each member wants the others to grow, improve, and send out their best work. If I am submitting a manuscript to an agent or editor, you can be sure my critique group has seen it first.

So, manuscript mamas, who do you trust to lovingly tell you what needs work? A critique group? Beta readers? Your mother-in-law? How has your writing improved because of the criticism of others?


  1. My husband will always be completely honest with me, and I trust his judgment on my mss ... also I have a small circle of betas. Unfortunately most of them are timid about being critical, so I'm in search of more crit partners! Good post :-)

  2. I would have quit long ago if it wasn't for being a member of a critique group. Not only do I need the critical feedback on my writing, but no one understands like other writers the highs and lows of this business. It's nice to have people to commiserate with and to celebrate with as well!! Nice post, Laura!

  3. I love it when a critique partner starts out with, "This is probably not what you want to hear..." I know I am about to be challenged. That's the best way for me to grow as a writer.

    Linda A.

  4. I am continually looking for solid critique partners as they are hard to find, especially for picture books. My husband is great with grammar and punctuation. I have a few critique partners who give constructive criticism, but could definitely use more. I want someone who really knows the market and who is willing to get tough.

  5. When a critique group clicks, everyone wins. Jackpot, I'm a winner with mine. We've grown together through brutal sessions and laughed together through our "duh" moments. We've celebrated, too. Big time.

  6. Thanks for chiming in. I connected with my critique group because I traded cards with someone over lunch at a SCBWI conference.

    How have you met critique partners?