Hi SEers! Denise here, and I’m going to share some mistakes and things I missed from my work. Why? To show why a second pair of eyes or a critique group can be so important.
These are actual mistakes from my current work in progress and the comments from my amazing Critique Partners, Yvette M Calleiro and P.T. L. Perrin. I call these my Author Bloopers. A few, especially the last one, had me laughing out loud once I realized what I had said. The others had me cringing or nodding in agreement. I will follow up with the current corrected version which may change and improve with more edits.
- “They will think I have too much time on my heads, but I’m okay with that…” (heads? How many do you have? I think you meant hands—PTL) Simple fix: “They will think I have too much time on my hands…”
- I’d like that too, Jane.” Drea’s coffee kicked, and she needed to move… (What did her coffee kick?—PTL) Here’s the corrected version: “I’d like that too, Jane.” Drea’s coffee kicked in, and she needed to move.
- Tears overflowed and raced down Drea’s face that she impatiently wiped away. (She impatiently wiped away the tears that overflowed…. Where you have it now makes it seem as if she’s wiping her face away.—PTL) This works better: Tears overflowed and raced down Drea’s face.
- In a few moments, she was satisfied after applying some lipstick. (After applying some lipstick, she was satisfied. Although, would this really be a thought of someone who might have a killer outside?—YC) The sentence could use the suggested correction, but another good point was brought up. No, I wouldn’t be fixing my make-up if a killer was stalking me. I deleted this.
- There were no tracks, but they did lead up to her front window. (Who/what does ‘they’ refer to? There were no tracks to her door but the track led up to her window? That doesn’t make sense to me.—YC) Wow! It didn’t make any sense. Here’s what I have right now: She moved her light to the walkway that went to her front door. The tracks veered off the main path and led to her front window.
- “Hang on, let me get that stool.” (What does the stool look like? Is it red and blue? Does it have superheroes on it?—YC) I removed that sentence and added more detail: “Oh, sorry. I’ll meet you in there.” Drea frowned when Charlie slipped off the blue stool. Robbie had it gotten for his second birthday and it still had the Batman stickers on it. He used that step every day until he could finally reach the sink on his own. But the stool was not meant for a dog to use.
- Drea stood up and went back into the kitchen to make more coffee… (How much coffee does this woman drink? LOL!—YC) Very valid point! I gave her some water here and there: Drea stood up and went back into the kitchen to get a glass of water…
- He bent down and patted the dog and the head. (Patted the dog and WHAT HEAD? Sounds like a head is floating around waiting to be petted. :-o—PTL) When I was done laughing, I fixed it: He bent down and patted the dog’s head.
These were all simple fixes of things that my eyes didn’t see. What I was seeing was what I intended, not what I wrote. While some were just misplaced words, needed more clarity, or to show more.
I love the honesty and humor of these two amazing writers. They make my work better, and I try to do the same for them. I’ve become the person who asks all the questions in our group.
Of course, you can skip the critique group and use a beta reader and an editor, but honestly, I need all three. Critique groups offer in-depth suggestions that can help your story as they go over a chapter or two at a time. Beta readers can give advice using the full picture because they read the entire book simultaneously while the editors clean everything up.
We all make mistakes writing, and it’s wonderful to have those extra eyes going over our work to help us find them.
What about you? Have you ever been a part of a critique group? Did it benefit you or not?