Friday, 9 March 2018

The Critique Life

I (the geek that I am) am in a writing group - Abingdon Writers. They are a great bunch of writers and without them my novels wouldn't be half as good as they are. One of the main things I like about this group is that they are not a loving - they are pretty brutal. You need that kind of brutality when you're a writer.  Of course you want people to say how amazing your work is but let's face it apart from boosting your ego it isn't going to do much for your writing.

Abingdon Writers has a sub-group that critiques full manuscripts and I love being part of the group. Because, for me, critiquing develops you as a writer as much as reading does. It makes you look at your own work with a more discerning eye. In the next couple of weeks my current work in progress is going to the group. A critique normally requires copious amounts of wine to get through and normally when it is over I take two months to process the feedback. Sometimes I ask myself where do I begin. I don't listen to everything - sometimes there are differences in opinion, other times I just don't agree with a point that has been made. But generally, the vast majority of changes they say need to be made are made.

It has been a huge achievement for me to complete this MS (the next instalment in the Chupplejeep Series - Jackpot Jetty) whilst on maternity leave and I have to admit at times (in a sleep deprived state) I have written in a trance-like state - not knowing what I am writing, but getting the words down almost like an auto-pilot. I somehow feel that since having N my writing has changed. Is that because I have changed as a person? I'm a mother now and I guess that changes the way you look at the world - therefore affecting your writing. I also write differently now. I know that my writing can often be interrupted so I write what comes into my mind - I used to write in a linear fashion but not anymore and in doing so I am sure it has had an effect on my writing too. I am expecting a particularly harsh critique this time around.

My writing has changed and so has my editing style. Jackpot Jetty is a rough first draft. Usually I would wait till one of the final edits for a critique. But in submitting a first draft I can get some direction from the group early on and take my time to make my edits. I have given myself till the end of the year to get it ready for publication....So I have adapted, my writing and my editing style to make it fit around new lifestyle.

And what of little N? Well he has started nursery and so far so good, minus the bugs! Tummy bugs are the worst and it's hellish when you catch them too. But its still early days and I am hoping things settle in that respect.   

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