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Crit as you go or when you’re done?

Home / Forums / List of Forums / Science Fiction & Fantasy / Crit as you go or when you’re done?

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    What do you ladies prefer?

    In the past, I’ve always thought waiting until my first draft was done was the only way to go. I couldn’t understand why people would want someone to look at their first draft while they were still working on it.

    I never thought I could let anyone look at something that I was still writing. I was really afraid that it would mess me up, get me obsessing over the beginning and I’d never finish it.

    Then I tried it. Wow. Talk about an eye opener. First of all, my crit buddy had a stomach of steel to read something that was pretty much the equivalent of puking onto the page.

    At first, it kind of did mess me up. It was hard for me to keep going forward and not go back. It was also hard because knowing that I was going to show it to someone, made me want to edit as i wrote which was good and bad, but kind of hindered the process for me for a while. Then I got used to it.

    Now I’m grateful for the experience. She pointed out so many things that I never would have seen if it wasn’t for her. She helped my plot in ways I couldn’t have imagined it.

    So what are your feelings on it? Do you like to have someone looking over your shoulder as you go? Or do you need to finish it and tidy it up a little before you pass it on?


    Barbara G.Tarn

    I am old-fashioned because I started writing before computers were the norm, so my very first draft is always handwritten. But I’m also a fast typist, so I’m quick at throwing that first draft (I call it draft zero) in the PC now. And then it can go out to betas and crit partners.
    What I look for is inconsistencies in plot or scenes that went too fast or too slow. I don’t really need to brainstorm the story before putting it to paper (or file).
    So there you have it, the opinion of a very prolific writer (who is going to post on the “critiquing style and experience” post as soon as she reads – offline – all the other posts!)



    I’m kind of thinking I’d like to get my first rough draft finished before I look for feedback, but knowing that someone will be waiting to read it makes me write harder to get it done. Or at least, that’s what I’m hoping will happen.



    Personally I like a crit after I’ve finished, at least, my 2nd draft. I say this because as I write, I think of things to add to what I’ve already written when I do my rewrites and make a list of them on my first page. When I start with my second draft/rewrite I add everything I’ve listed on the first page. I might give the critiquing-as-I-write thing a shot but I know that a lot of things need to change in the rewrites and I don’t want my critique partner to have to reread the thing every time I make minor changes.


    I like both, with a slight preference to as-I-go. I enjoy being able to have someone to bounce developmental ideas off of when it’s VERY early in the draft, or to point out things I can use to course-correct when I’m sending chapters soon after I write them.



    I tend to wait until I’m done but I’m wondering if maybe I should try the as-you-go approach. I do know that having a crit partner expecting pages on a steady basis would definitely encourage me to work harder to finish.

    It’s tough. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages. My rough drafts tend to be very messy but I also think having a different set of eyes to look at it as it’s developing will help in pointing out wrong turns.



    I’ve done both.

    I am also a friend of mine’s Alpha reader, as we call it. I read her book as she goes. She finds it very helpful because I can reassure her that the book isn’t sucking, or offer suggestions if she gets stuck.

    That being said, I personally don’t offer anything as far as criticism while she’s drafting, because I have this weird belief that the first draft is a fragile thing and it’s up to the writer to figure out how things are supposed to go. I mostly just cheer her on.

    I tried having someone else read my rough draft as I wrote it this last book and it didn’t work so well for me. My first drafts are a mess. I delete characters, change names and descriptions, all on a whim. I kept thinking about what my friend would think and how awful everything was, when I really needed to think about the characters and the story. So I don’t think I will let someone read along during a rough draft again.

    However, I find a lot of value in brainstorming my ideas with other people. So what I usually do is brainstorm with a couple of beta readers prior to drafting. Then when I get stuck during the first draft, I can explain the situation to my beta reader and she usually offers a good solution.

    I think it depends on your writing style and what works best for you, but it’s worth trying. 😀



    I use both Alpha and Beta readers. I have a couple of gals read as I’m going, just to keep me on track and make sure I don’t end up in the wilds somewhere.

    Then I use Beta’s as fresh to get a feel for the whole MS.


    febe moss

    Hmm I’ve been working on my novel for a year and a half. Ive had my work in progress critiqued by my local critique group as I go. It’s helped but it’s also hurt my writing confidence a tad.



    I prefer both. Sometimes while writing, I’ll wonder if a scene I’ve written is good enough, if my story’s good enough, if *I’m* good enough, so it helps to have a crit partner push me along the way. However, I think the major critiquing should be done at the end of your draft because then you can focus on the whole story and it’s structure =)



    I’m up for whatever. If someone’s curious enough to ask for what I have, I’m totally willing to get it to them. I don’t know if I’m ready to be a critiquer yet, though, but if I was, I could read either/or.



    I would say it´s easier for me, if someone takes an eye of my work. They see, what I don´t see, and mostly it´s when you´re stuck or you don´t know anything to do with these character.
    It´s like opening a second door to your book.

    Sometimes, it´s hard for my crit partners because I re-write my story often. And they have to do their hard work again. And again. And again, maybe.

    And like I said so many time before: I NEED BUTT-KICKING! 😀

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