Wednesday, December 1, 2010

WIP Wednesday

The Second draft of HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN is DONE.


I said that I would edit throughout the month of November and do a bit of a “Nanoremo” and I did it!

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to go out and query now…

(note:  One should NEVER go out and query before they are absolutely sure that their novel is ready and have another pair of eyes go over it).

So what do I do now that this draft is done?  Do I sit back and relax?


I send of this draft to my trusted critique partners (they’ll see the things that I miss or that I think is awesome, but really isn’t), and then I’ll implement their feedback.

TRUST ME, critique partners are something every writer should have.  You may think you just wrote the next New York Times Bestseller (which I’m sure you did), but that critique partner is there to just help you tweak those things you may have missed on your masterpiece (misspellings anyone?)

I learned a few lessons in picking my critique partners (You can actually view them on my handy side bar) and am here to share what I have learned about critiquing and beta reading.

1.)     Be open.  If they tell you that there was something that could be fixed, don’t cry about it.  Take it with an open mind and see the broader picture.  *Maybe* it’s not wise to name your main characters Bella and Edward…just saying.
2.)    Make sure that you both read and write similar genres.  Do you think it’s wise for you to critique someone’s work if you dislike Dystopian and they wrote a Dystopian novel or vice versa?  Sometimes those critique partners who write different genres are good for the tightening portions, but even I’ll admit that I’d have a hard time critiquing something historical, since that’s not what I read.
3.)    Keep an open line of contact with your critique partner.  Maybe you each just share a chapter at a time and then discuss it over skype, or maybe you send the whole manuscript and then talk about it over coffee.  Either way, this is a journey that your critique partner wants to share with you!  If they didn’t then they wouldn’t be your critique partner!
4.)    Be honest, but don’t be mean.  Sure you think their story about zombie alien cowboys fighting for the love of human sorority girls is a really stupid concept, but don’t tell your critique partner that.  Give your critique partner the good and the bad.  You can say, “Hey this concept may not be my thing, but you do a really nice job of storytelling, especially the last stand at the Gamma Phi house.”  (note…no this is not what my alien manuscript is about, don’t get excited).
5.)    Take critiques with a grain of salt…and maybe a shot of something.  These aren’t personal.  Yes, your book is your baby, but just because someone didn’t like parts of your story, don’t take it as that being a critique against YOU.  Your critique partner just wants to help you, so take a step back and really look at your critique partner’s notes.  It may hurt that she doesn’t like the character of Bella the alien princesses disguised as a sorority girl, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like you or can’t give you tips to improve your character!

So now what to do that my Betas and critique partners have my manuscript?  Well I’m flexing my knuckles and getting ready to return the favor of course!


  1. Beta readers and crit partners are awesome. It's so important to have trusted people that can help make your ms shine.

  2. I would be LOST without my CPs. But it took me a long time to find them. You have some great suggestions here. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Congrats on finishing the second draft! Critique partners are wonderful to have. Can I just mention how much I love that title? Ok, I will. I love the title HOW TO DATE AN ALIEN :)

  4. Great points! And congrats on the second draft. That is great news!

  5. Nicole number 1 (can we call that a nickname?)- I realized after my first MS how VERY important they are. I wouldn't be able to write without mine.

    Whitney- I think I would be lost without your character outlining on your blog!

    Nicole number 2 (I would also like to call you pookie bear)- Crit partners rock my socks...especially if one wants to send me one of her manuscripts (hint,hint,hint)

    Lydia- Thank you! It took a lot of hot chocolate. I know you're the doctor, but I'm pretty sure that you would recommend that as well.

  6. Dude. How was I NOT following your blog?

    BTW, have I told you how much I love your title?

  7. Jill- I thought you were! Sometimes things happen! Thanks for the title love...I hope realize that my story isn't about aliens at all...(kidding, totally is).

  8. Great post! I just started working with my first critique partner, and at the beginning it was a little scary and sometimes a little depressing. But then I told myself to get over myself, and now I'm enjoying the process a lot. It's a world apart from having your friend/family member give you their opinion ;)

  9. Haha, I'll take pookie bear. If I had a ready manuscript I'd totally send it to you but the one I have is totally ugly (needs lots of works still). You'd probably be screaming at how horrendous it is if I sent it now, but you can always send me your ms whenever you want a fresh pair of eyes.

  10. Aaugh - how did I miss this post! Sorry I'm late! Congrats!!!!


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