Sunday, February 28, 2010

Peek a Boo

I've been doing some critiquing for an on-line critique group I belong to, and this story is about to make me pull out my hair. It looks like a rough draft; incorrect punctuation, strange sentence construction, incorrect use of pronouns, wandering verb tense ... The list goes on and on. To my mind, this story isn't ready for a critique.
I understand that sometimes people want to get someone's opinion about whether a story idea is viable. Fine. Get a friend to read it for a general impression. But don't waste the time of a critiquer on a rough draft.
In my mind, a critique will point out blunders you haven't noticed as you've tried to craft this story, and some of those blunders might be huge, while others are really tiny. But when you send out something with lots and lots of grammatical errors that you couldn't be bothered to fix, you are wasting their time, as they attempt to find a tactful way to tell you to clean up your manuscript. You have to clean up all those punctuation and verb tense problems anyway, so why not look like you are at least trying to do a professional job?
Like all those other writers who are taking the time to critique your work for you, I would really rather spend that extra 5 or 10 minutes working on my own story. I don't mind helping a fellow writer, if that writer seems willing to do a re-write by hunting down and correcting what mistakes he/she can find without my help. Think of it as a quest to turn out a perfect manuscript. If you can do that much for a critiquer, you are that much closer to having a manuscript that's ready to be seen by an editor.
My husband has joined me on vacation, so now it's two of us cramming blog posts into our occasional visits to the local bookstore with free wifi. Still, it wasn't bad this time. See ya next week.

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