Monday, May 23, 2005

Wanted: One Slightly Used Critique Partner

I have changed the title to this post like six times already. Since I use the blog as kind of a writing warm up I can only conclude that today will be a day of indecision and fuzzy thinking. Not uncommon in my neck of the woods. I take it that it will also be a day of overused and outdated cliches. Except of course, now that I have said that, I can't think of a single solitary cliche. So let's cut right to the chase. (Thar you go!)

Where do people find great critique partners? Those friends who are not only honest, but accessable. Professional, yet not too busy for you? Someone who is helpful and can give advice more useful than,

"Well, why'dya have to go and make her say some durn fool thing like that?"

"Because that was the whole point of the book, Dad."

"Seems sorter silly to me."


"Simply wonderful, sweetheart, I laughed till I cried."

"She died, mom."

"And you wrote it so well."


"Why don't you name one of your characters, Carol? Your Great Aunt Carol would get such a kick out of that!"

"Okay, Mom, I will name the teacher, Carol," I say, through gritted teeth.

"No, it has to be a speaking part."

"Mom, this is a book, not a play, for crying out loud!" (See how I slipped in that cliche while you wern't looking?)

And so on and so forth.

All the really great and published writers have great and published critique partners. I have come to the conclusion that this is some sort of secret key. I should put out a want ad.

Wanted: One slightly used (read experienced) critique partner.
  • Must be able to spot improper pronoun use from a great distance.
  • Must be enthusiastic, supportive and knowledgable.
  • Must be able to kick ass and ask the hard questions such as, "You do know how to spell, don't you?"and, "Have you honestly been anywhere that people actually speak like that, cause I haven't," or "Just how stupid do you think your reading audience is?"
  • Must be published, have multiple works in progress and still have time for moi!
  • Must have eerie encyclopedic knowledge of all living things.
  • Must not in any way, shape or form resemble my mother or even someone who looks like my mother.

If you feel you fit these qualifications, run, run like the wind cause you don't want me for a critique partner.


Jana J. Hanson said...

I'm not published, but I would certainly offer assistance, if you could tolerate a slightly off-kilter mother of a 10-month-old.

Shannon McKelden said...

Ha! You made me laugh, Teri, because your mother sounds much like my teen daughter, when she pretends to be my "critique partner." (Heavy emphasis on "critique.")

Daughter: Clyde? You named the doorman Clyde?

Me: He's an old guy in NYC. His name is Clyde.

Daughter: Clyde doesn't sound like a New York name.

Me: (staring at her with mouth open, trying to blink my brain into comprehension) What should he be named? Lancelot? Fabio? He's not the hero, he's the doorman. There are millions of people in New York. You're telling me that none of them are named Clyde?

Daughter: (shrugging and looking sullen) It just doesn't sound like a NEW YORK name.

Me: And you have what vast experience with New York names? Having been there exactly ZERO times in your life?

Daughter: I'm entitled to my opinion.

Me: Well considering "Clyde" makes exactly two appearances in the entire book and only says "Hello," I highly doubt the use of the name Clyde will make or break the book.

Daughter: Hey, if you want me to critique, you have to respect my opinion.

Me: Only when it's a good opinion.

[rolls eyes] Putting power in the hands of a teenager is like sticking your head in a lion's mouth. Sheesh.


TJBrown said...

Ha! That is why I never let my daughter read my stuff. She would rather skate anyway:)