After I’ve written an entire series on bad advice, and a fairly long guide to being completely unhelpful as a critique partner, you may think I haven’t had any good experiences with writing friends. This is not true. (Contest judges are another story.)
I actually have several people (mostly writers, but a few nonwriters) who read my writing and consistently offer excellent analysis, insight and advice. (And, oddly enough, almost none of them actually read this blog. But thank you anyway!)
Their advice has pointed out weaknesses in my writing from phrasing to pacing—and not in the “oh, you suck” way, but in a “Hey, I think you can do this better” way. They’ve helped me see issues that I knew my story had—and find solutions to make my work stronger. They’re more than just fresh eyes to give me perspective—they’ve been a wealth of ideas and insight to improve my story on so many levels.
Each of my critiquers/beta readers is good at spotting different things. Each of them has different strengths—one may be really good at helping me to deepen characterization while another is good at seeing . . . “opportunities” for more suspense. Even nonwriters—i.e. people like your target audience—can offer valuable insight (though they may not phrase it quite the same way a writer would 😉 ).
But I’m sure we all have at least one story. How have writing friends and critique partners helped your writing? (Feel free to share specific examples if you like!)
Photo by Art G.