For Christy's Query Letter Blogfest Entry, please click here (or scroll down three posts). Thanks!
It's time for #10 on our list of best/worst things about being an aspiring author: posting work on writing forums
I (erica) have posted a little about my critique experiences before. I was a part of a wonderful critique group made up of friends I made at ABNA (with published, about-to-be-published, and aspiring authors). I had a beta reader (waves to JC). I email things to friends (shout out to christy). I post snippets on this blog. I enter blog hops where I have to write something interesting and compelling and up for review (er, well, sometimes I let my son do that one!). (note: this has nothing to do with the query blogfest christy is in this week. that's a very helpful way of critiquing work and I am totally in support of it. in fact, please follow the link above and comment on hers. it's pretty great.)
But what about critique forums? You know, blogs and sites that ask authors to post first pages (or queries or synopses or first five pages or. . .)? I've had mixed feelings about this for awhile. They are not all bad - any critique can help you mature as an author. But they can be very limited - sometimes you happen upon a blog/forum where people know each other and pat each others backs while giving newbies a run for their money (sometimes deservedly, sometimes not) (yuck, I so do not care if I sit at the cool kids' table anymore). Sometimes the people critiquing and posting are in completely different genres and unfamiliar with what works. Quite often, people make conflicting comments and leave an author scratching their head and wondering what exactly was wrong/right with it. Sometimes - and please tell me in the comments if this happened to you on a public forum - you can find the perfect match. *ahhh*
I have participated in a few public forums. As you guys know, christy and I both participated in writeoncon this past summer and posted work for review (and found each other, of course). I got a few responses that were very helpful - but in a sense, that was an unusual forums arrangement. Its participants were actively looking to get feedback in preparation for the conference and possible agent/editor recognition - and the best way to get feedback is to give it (and woc was all kidlit - organized forums in YA, MG, and PB). This is a good thing.
Another forum (not to be named, sorry) gave me a sour taste in my mouth - I got comments like "If I read another first-person book, I'm gonna' puke" and "I'd be happy to review your first page if you look at mine first." NOT HELPFUL. And, yes, the infamous "realistic contemporary is so boring, I refuse to read any more of yours" critique I got last summer. grr.
Do you participate in any critique forums (or have you)? Do you love them? Do you hate them? Do you ignore them? Or are you one of those that reads and never participates, laughing at the fact that your book is going to be so much better than all the drivel the other authors put out there (come on, you know there's people like that out there. none of our followers, of course. but, you know, "lurkers")?
And in the interest of public disclosure - in case you missed it the other times I posted it (hey, it's my 15 minutes of fame) - here's the link to my Nathan Bransford first-page critique last July (disclaimer - this isn't my first page anymore, well, not exactly). Not that an agent critique is equal to peer-critiques - they're a whole new animal. However, there are some interesting comments from other aspiring authors if you feel like taking the time to look at them (and yes, you might recognize a few of them - my friends are really wonderful). Okay, two links - first this one and then here.