What if they hated it? What if they didn't get it? What if . . . they didn't appreciate my hard work? How could I hand my baby to them fearing they'd think it was . . . ugly?
I had a choice to make, send my work for submission as is or send it to my critique partners. As nervous as it made me, I chose to send it to my cps. If by chance I had a few stupid mistakes, or even some not so stupid mistakes, I'd rather my cps break it to me.
And boy am I glad I did. There was nothing mega or too glaring, but there were a few duplicated duplicated words. And a few words that shouldn't have been their but there. I think my favorite error was a word that should have been it, but was fit.
What I found interesting was while I was waiting for my cps feedback I offered to look at a friend's first chapter. Now that wasn't the interesting part. What was interesting was her enthusiasm to share her baby. I remember having that same kind excitement with my first manuscript. I also remember the huge disappointment when I had received my very first critiques. And I took those feelings into consideration when I told her about the problem areas. I did not want to burst her bubble so I tried to soften the blow, which is kind of difficult when the communication is done on the computer. Fortunately, for us we live in the same town and were able to talk on the phone. We've also made a date for a face-to-face critique.
While I was talking to her I kept remembering how I felt when I heard, "You've got a great story, but . . ." All I heard were the buts. I didn't hear the befores or the afters, only the buts, which indicated a negative reaction in my brain. And I didn't want her to hear the negative. I wanted her to focus on the positive and know that the glaring errors were fixable. The difference between us is experience. I've been writing off and on for years and seriously for four. She's been writing less than a year.
I no longer truly dread sending any of my work to my critique partners, because I trust them, even more I trust myself. Besides, I really need them. I often miss the grammar train. I also tend to write discombobulated sentences (I blame it on my dyslexic thinking). One of my cps excels in grammar, another is a historical guru when it comes to word usage and clothing, and the third knows exactly how to untwist my discombobulation. ;) And all three of them leave my voice alone. Above all I value their friendship.
What do I bring to the table? I haven't quite figured that out. But I'm sure I'm good for something.
I'm getting ready to send off my latest submission, and I know it could be months before I hear anything, but I wanted to thank my cps for being the best. They are priceless!
Do you have critique partners? Have you become friends? If you're not a writer have you ever found really good friends through your hobbies?