There came a point, after I had made my revisions and my husband had told me how much he disliked my book, that I needed to find a critique group.
I tried to gather up a few people from church, but nobody was interested in reading my book. Just, you know, having me read their book. (Okay, there were only two people.)
So I started looking online.
Believe it or not, you have the same problem online. Everyone wants to be read but nobody wants to read and review. I joined a writing group online that I was quite excited about. I made myself a regular member and read every new post that someone made. However, I quickly lost enthusiasm for two reasons: 1) I wasn't getting reviews in return 2) When I did, they were 1-2 liners of the first 1-2 chapters.
I ended up getting lots of feedback for the first two chapters. But what about the rest of the book???
That's when I found www.writing.com.
It can be a bit confusing at first. So many options. I just started reading every person I found, looking for something great. What I found was a novelist who had written such a great novel that I read the whole thing online in a few hours. (You can see her blog here.) And she led me to the Young Adult Novel Forum.
That writing group was the first to read my novel all the way through.
It was fantastic. I remember the first reviews I got, years ago now, where my fellow members cringed and held their breath to see how I'd take their critique of my novel. Then I remember the reviews I got a year ago, when the members said things like, "I forgot to critique this, I was so into the story." Radical difference. It changed immensely. I could not have done it without a critique group.
I learned so much from them. And I knew quite a bit before, grammatically (I majored in English), but not so much when it came to writing. They were the ones who taught me about head-hopping POVs and adverbs. About flashbacks and prologues and showing emotions instead of telling them.
And they are my friends. I love my critique group. I'm not as active as I was then, but I know they support me. They are a group of fantastic writers.
The best advice I have for an aspiring writer is to get a critique group. Not your friends, but honest writers who will give you their sincere feelings on your book.
today's goal: 183/183
tomorrow's goal: Finish!