Who has read your WIP?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by cheekychook » July 21st, 2010, 1:21 pm

Just to update---I am two chapters away from completing yet another round of rewrites and then I'll be giving my WIP to two brand new readers. Although both are friends, I know neither will hesitate to give me honest critique and reactions---one is a writer, the other an avid reader of my genre and very critical of storyline/dialogue/details/etc. To quell my nerves and keep me from tweaking things while they're reading I plan to work on my query letter and (gasp) the dreaded synopsis.

I've really enjoyed reading the varied answers about who reads your work.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by slavandria » July 21st, 2010, 2:00 pm

I have posted the opening chapter of my WIP to a writer's site out of the UK and have received amazing feedback, including a professional critique from an editor with Orion Books. Her comments were VERY positive and encouraging and I have since incorporated her ideas in my novel. I must say my ms is much better. As my novel is for YA and NA (15 and up), I have been blessed with a teenage son and his friends to bounce my first 3 chapters off of. The comments from my target audience has been invaluable. It's like having insider information. :-)

I learned a long time ago that family and friends are great motivators and do wonders for the ego, but if you want to really get nitty gritty comments that will toughen your skin and improve your writing, you need to get it out there to everyday readers and writers, preferably through critique sites. Most of the time, they'll tell you the way it is and what worked and didn't work for them. Their opinions are worth their weight in gold. Strangers have nothing to lose by being honest. I like getting the reviews because it has made me stronger and more resilient to rejections. Face it - not everyone is going to love what you wrote. Learning how to live with the bad critiques and accept them graciously speaks loads about your character and determination.

I have also provided critiques as well, which has improved my work considerably. Finding the flaws in someone else's work has led me to finding the same flaws in my own, so the exercise of giving and receiving critiques has two awesome benefits.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by Ishta » July 22nd, 2010, 4:55 pm

Well, my PBs go through my critique group once or twice and sometimes the SCBWI crit board several times before any non-writer sees them. After that, I usually have my husband read them, and sometimes I run them by my kids (7 and 3) and a couple of mom friends whose kids are in my target audience. If I make any big changes, it goes back to the crit group.

My novel might have my husband's eyes on it just to get his perspective in terms of "does this hold your attention or not", but I can't see myself showing it to anyone else until the first draft is done and it's ready for my critique group. I certainly wouldn't show it to friends or family, since none of them are writers and I wouldn't want to show them something that was only half-baked. I do sometimes run plot-points by my mom, again just so gauge a reaction, but I don't show her my work.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by Scribble » July 24th, 2010, 10:56 am

I have one real crit partner and I met her on this site. She does an awesome job (I don't know how she puts up with all my grammar errors).
I did try getting my wife to read it but she tends to skim all her books and would just say, 'it's fine.' Not much help.

I do go to a local writer's group, but that's not really much more than getting to read your stuff out. When you finish, everyone mumbles something nice about it then it's on to the next person (though if nothing else, going to this group makes me revise a chapter before I read it).

I've posted stuff on SFFC website and did a few crits on there. the feedback was useful, but I didn't end up using anything I posted.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by Backspace » July 25th, 2010, 12:32 am

I like to get a readers perspective and a writers perspective on my MSs. I use family and friends as readers and fellow writers for detailed stuff (no more than six people total.) Family and friends, while educated give me general feedback, and writers tend to focus on things like POV, verb tense, trite phrasing, etc. Everyone knows that while it's okay to tell me what they like, I really only want to know what's wrong.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by sbs_mjc1 » July 25th, 2010, 1:40 pm

Obviously, Mike and I read and crit each other's writing.

Two days ago, we uploaded it to Authonomy, so the number of readers jumped from "just us" to "holy *@%$, that's a lot of people!" Whatever it's merits as a route to dazzling fame and fortunepublishing, Authonomy has been a good source of quick feedback-- people tend to move fast, and pinpoint the big snags or highlights.
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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by adamg73 » July 28th, 2010, 6:01 pm

I've been very skittish about letting anyone read my stuff until it's pretty darn polished. My current completed manuscript underwent 4 revisions before anyone saw more than a few lines.

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Re: Who has read your WIP?

Post by LilaSwann » July 29th, 2010, 4:06 pm

I always let my mom read my first draft chapters. She's never read in my genre, and she doesn't read generally, but that's not really the point. It's really exciting and helpful for ME to have someone who knows the story that I've kept bottled up in my head for so long. My first draft chapters are sometimes a little rough and a little confusing, but they've got a lot of heart and emotion, and my mom really responds to that. I really like having someone to talk with about the characters, the storyline, etc. It's great motivation to have someone who wants to know more, and who is responding positively to what I've written so far.

My mom's lack of knowledge concerning reading/genre/grammar has actually worked out really well for me. I write commercial fiction YA, mostly fantasy/romance, so it's not like I'm trying to write some really thought-provoking philosophical instant classic. I focus more on the story and my characters, and I feel like my mom really encapsulates the average reader. She looks for an interesting, clear, somewhat easy-to-follow story, and she's looking for some really interesting characters that she can root for/love. Even if some bits are a little rougher than others, the basic heart of the story is still there, and she's able to latch onto that.

First drafts, for me at least, are all about capturing the emotion, the feel, the tone of my story. As long as I'm conveying THAT right, I can fix all sorts of grammatical things later.

My mom is always exceedingly enthusiastic about the chapters, which some people might see as worthless. I've found that the value comes in the things she doesn't say - her ACTIONS. I always pay attention to her when she's reading. For example, she read the first five chapters in about 3 days, absolutely begging for the next chapter once she finished one. (And they're long chapters!) But Chapter 6 has been a bit of a struggle for her - it's taken her 2 weeks to really get through it. She's trying to claim that it's because she's been super-busy lately, and that might be true, but what the delay tells ME is that for whatever reason, Chapter 6 doesn't seem as urgent/interesting to her as the others. So I'm going to have to take a look at that and see if it's a pacing issue, too much dialogue and not enough action...basically, I know there's something in that chapter that doesn't scream READ ME like the others did.

She also gets really bubbly and proud about it, and when she tells her coworkers/friends, I always make sure to listen in. It's really interesting to hear her explain the plot (what details she chooses to include, what details she doesn't), how she describes the world... Sometimes, her vision doesn't match up with mine. Sometimes, she obsesses over a tiny plot point, totally convinced that it's going to be important at the end, when really it was just a throwaway line that I never intended to be such a big deal. That's always fun. And sometimes, she latches on to certain characters and casts them in either an extremely positive or negative light. She adores my MC, which is good since it's told from her POV, but she's already developing Cullen-itis for my romantic interest. Even when he's doing things that aren't quite so admirable or swoon-worthy, she's totally willing to forgive him or explain his actions in a rosier light. It's just really interesting how she responds to my characters, and I'm guessing that's how average run-of-the-mill YA readers would respond, too.

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