Wednesday, July 26, 2006

CP or not to CP?

Check out this cool feature for an author with a book in print at Amazon.com. The collage is showcasing my own book cover (just personal preference), but just click 'Back to Home', and enter the title or author of your choice. As far as I can tell, it will only work with one-word entries. Found this on Joan Reeves blog.

Now onto the behind the scenes nitty-gritty...

My writing life is no different from the rest of my life. I'm a loner in all respects. I started writing as a new mom and kept completely to myself. Only a few people knew I was writing at all, and none of them were writers or had any connection to the publishing business. Then, four years later, I had a book, but no writing friends, no internet buddies, no one cheering me on as I decided to self-publish it. Then again, maybe no one would have cheered that decision...

I joined RWA about five months after I published my book and started participating on Yahoo loops. A little later I started blogging; I attended my first writing conference, and started feeling like I was part of the club--a little.

Now still, my writing is private. I don't really discuss my WIP with anyone, and I don't have a critique partner. In truth I have mixed feelings as to whether I'd really work well with one. Sure I'd love to have some feedback on my own writing, but it would need to be from someone who's opinion (and likely, whose writing) I respect. Most comments I've received from the few contests I've entered have left me feeling confused and irritated by others' opinions. Many judges seem to have a short attention span or else they're obsessed over the 'Rules of Romance'. I could never gel with these people. My point is, I'm almost afraid to seek out a critique partner. Even if I pick someone who's great for me, what if I feel overwhelmed in critiquing her work? What if I don't like the genre she's writing in...or moving into? And think of all the time it will take.... Maybe I'm not someone who would do well with a critique partner.

Then again, maybe I'm over-thinking. And maybe I'm terribly high-maintenance.

I've heard so many great things about those wonderful, invaluable critique partners. I've had a fellow RWA member critique an article for me, and her comments really made it so much better. Alas...she has a critique partner. How to stumble onto someone just perfect? Everywhere I go, writers already have their CP's. And even if I could decide that I wanted one, I'm not even sure where they're hiding.

And so...I'm off to write in solitary splendor...

8 comments:

Sara Hantz said...

Alyssa, this is totally spooky. I started to do a post entitled To CP OR Not To CP because of a comment you made on my blog. So I came to your blog so i could link you and found you'd done an identical post....... that is weird. Oh well, I guess I better think again.... at least think of a new title.

I stumbled onto my CPs - they're totally fab - we're a group of four!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Wow, Sara. That's downright freaky! I guess your vote would be 'To CP'. Odd that I left out the first 'To'...

Lucky you to have found such a great group!

Swishy said...

I can't do the critique partner thing, at least the way most people seem to. I let three people read my manuscript when it was done--someone in the target audience, someone who loves books and someone who works with me (as an editor) and whose opinion I really trust. But the back and forth thing ... I don't know if I could do that. I'd have to REALLY click with that person!

Sara Hantz said...

We're friends as well as CPs now. It's hard at first, especially when you're critting. You don't want to upset someone. But it's also pretty pointless if you're not going to say what works for you and what doesn't.

Also, I don't totally accept everything my CPs say without thinking about it first. When they all three mention something (usually to do with EP because that's my weakness) then I tend to make the changes. Other than that I'll consider what they say and if I feel it's right for the book I'll act on it

Christina Phillips said...

Hi Alyssa, as one of Sara's CPs I definitely fall into the To Have camp! Along with the other two ladies in our crit group we met on the eharlequin boards and became friends before crit partners. That way we discovered we had common interests and goals before reading each other's work. This works for me, not sure I would be comfortable with an online community crit group though.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Hi Swishy...there must be a story behind that name. I'm going to read your blog when my children aren't clammoring to use the computer.... At least you have your three!

Hi Christina,
Another one of the lucky ones...;) Glad you found something that works for you!

kathrynoh said...

It's a hard call. I've started doing a course in creative writing and find most of the critiquing very superficial. You read the work out in class and people comment - there's no time for reflection - plus I think people tend to agree with the first person to comment just so they are saying something.

On the other hand, I've done a lot of work with a writing mentor and it's been a brilliant experience.

I also share critiques with my sister and a friend, both of whom are brutually honest which I love.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

I don't have a writing mentor and have wondered how different that would be from a critique partner. One-sided, but otherwise the same?