I just finished critiquing my CP’s fantastic historical fantasy novel and I don’t know who to be more proud of — Leandra for writing a very clever and heart-racing piece of spec fic, or me for using my child-induced-mush-brain for pointing out some slight characterization flaws and inconsistencies. No…definitely Leandra. She did write a splendid work of fiction and she’s a mom too and she works full-time. I give her all the credit in the world. In fact, I give chocolate and teddy bears to anyone who writes a novel while trying to balance work and family and life. Because damn, this writing shit is hard. Especially when your brain only functions on six hours of interrupted sleep and a meager cup of coffee.
It truly is an honor to critique another author’s work. Not only does that author trust you enough to read their baby, but they actively seek your opinion. Admittedly, sometimes I don’t think I am the nicest CP. My comments probably come across as harsh, especially when I’m saying things like, “Nah-uh. No way. Take this out” or “delete. delete. delete.” But Leandra was a great sport and a true talent and I am very much in awe of her.
I also channeled a lot of my Red Adept editor when making notes. I found myself writing things like, “unpack this.” (Thanks, Kris!) And I kept pushing for more emotional digging. How does everyone feel?
The glory of being a CP is that you automatically write better yourself. It’s really hard to make mistakes you’ve pointed out to others. So anyone who wants to be a serious writer, please find yourself a good writing buddy and read and comment on their work. Doing so is crucial to the quality of your own work.