Growing as a Writer

Generally when I ask for feedback or a critique sometimes it would be nice to hear the positive, but I suppose that isn’t what will help me grow as a writer.  It does seem like if I don’t ask at least three people to find issues I would never see all my downfalls. What I did wrong...today
Since I started allowing people to see my work my grammar has improved.  It isn’t perfect yet, but it has improved.  There are mistakes I would never have seen had someone not been brutally honest about my weakness in grammar.  I would never have realized that some of my male characters were not acting as a male would at times.  Even if a scene was hysterical, a real man would never do or think the way I had described.  I also figured out where I started my story is not actually where the story should start.  I think that one particular clue has changed my manuscripts and made them flow a little quicker and  will engage a reader faster.

All that being said I still don’t know what my strengths are or if my stories are interesting.  I agree that to grow i need to know my issues.  Do I assume no critique means that the story itself is okay?  Or do I assume everyone is so caught up in my problems that no one is able to read the story?  I have noticed that some of the people I trusted to look at a chapter or two have so many pet peeves it wouldn’t matter if the story was good or not, they couldn’t read it.  Maybe because I don’t have a lot of hang-ups I am a great reader but I am not a great editor.
There are several ebooks that i have read lately that have more typo’s then I could count, yet I was still able to read it and enjoy.  I know several people who would have stopped reading on the first error.  Mind you, these are NOT self-published books.  How sad is that? Can you read past the errors to see if a story has potential or do you have to see a fully polished, near perfect, manuscript?
How many times do you read your own work before someone else can see it, or has it remained locked away hoping for an agents bite?

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10 thoughts on “Growing as a Writer

  1. Kelly Hashway says:

    I have a my trusted beta reader and my CPs. They see my work when I have it polished to the point where I can’t see any more errors. Then they tell me how to make it better and find some errors that slipped by me because I know what I MEANT to say. After them, my agent edits my work before she puts it out on submission. My first novel coming out when through two rounds of revisions with my editor, then two copy editors who asked for more revisions, and now we are proofreading the galley. I’m thankful for all the eyes helping me make my work better.

    If you aren’t getting content feedback from your CPs, ask them for it. That’s so important, even more so than catching your grammar mistakes.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      I really should push to get positive feedback. It would certainly help me want to continue writing. I feel better knowing that even published authors have a dozen eyes on their manuscripts before their books see the light of day – although I hear that is fading too. I am in transition at the moment. My CP need to change so i can grow. It’s hard to realize that not everyone has your best interests at heart.

      Can’t wait for your novel!

  2. Carol Apple says:

    I admire your courage in being willing to receive constructive criticism, even criticism that is brutally honest. I think this indicates you definitely are growing as a writer and the stronger we get the faster we grow and improve. But a little positive encouragement goes a long way as a motivator. One sincere compliment can fuel me in writing or whatever I am doing for at least 24 hours!

    • M. Ziegler says:

      Thank you. Sometimes it is very hard to hear. Sometimes I wish someone would find more. In my mind there is a reason I am not published yet and I just want to find that. You are so right though, that one nice comment can fuel a lot of productivity.

  3. deborahbrasket says:

    It’s hard finding just the right critique partner. You need to hear both the positive, what you’re doing well, and the negative, but some writers are too inexperienced to give advice that helps push you to the next level. They can help with some surface errors and readerly comments, but to help at really tightening the prose, knowing what to weed out and where to expand takes lots of experience.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      That has been my experience too. I had a friend critique a short story for a contest and she missed more issues then I did. She reads a lot but that doesn’t mean she can pick out the things that need to be fixed, other then the missing punctuation or incorrect word. I think more then even finding a reliable partner is finding someone you trust. I had one partner once who stole ideas from me… and sadly has now been published.

  4. strugglingwriter says:

    I trust nobody I’m related to or married to as far as giving an honest critique of my writing. They are too close to me and my feelings.

    I am a member of a monthly critique group and that has helped to immensely. It’s a built in audience that will tell me if something doesn’t work. They also tell me when something does work. I’ve also grown as a writer from critiquing other writer’s work.

    • M. Ziegler says:

      Isn’t it true that those closest to you are probably the worst to ask for help. I have been down the road of a writers group and am in the process of finding a new group. It wasn’t a good experience the first time around but I hope that might change. Thanks for the comment!

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