My First Chapter Gets Critiqued!

Posted October 23, 2019 by Amber in Writing / 0 Comments

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A couple months ago, I announced that a friend was critiquing my manuscript!  This is just an update post for this interested in WIPs and writers doing writerly things. 🙂

This friend, her name is Melissa, is a writerly type herself and it took me months and months to work up the courage to ask her.  I have been burned before by proofreaders, who have often not returned manuscripts or if they have, offered very little feedback or none that is useful.  I did have one crit partner for a different manuscript ages ago, but since then?  Nothing.

Melissa did a really good job going through my first chapter of Fate and picked up on a lot of stuff that was really bothering me.  She also picked up on the one thing that I worry about the most and made excellent suggestions.

Can we take a moment to appreciate her pretty handwriting?

I’m a hardcopy editor, so I gave her the hardcopy.  It’s easier for me to have the paperwork so I can work with the physical copy to the side and with my full focus on the screen when I’m making my edits.  She carefully considered everything from wording to the imagery that didn’t work… to the fact that some of my nouns were confusing.

Fate is a story I’ve been working and reworking forever, and it took some courage to give this one to anybody.  What if she hated it?  What if these characters are useless?  What if I’ve wasted all these years being in love with my dethroned princess and the band of mages she travels with?  What if… after all this time… my writing is actually terrible?

I am so glad and so grateful.  The biggest critique Melissa gave me in this chapter was that Queen Ellen – Jessica’s mother and one of the villains – was a bit confusing.  Why are people afraid of her?  She needed to be better developed.  Hearing this news was a breath of fresh air for me – I agree with her entirely.  Ellen has a whole history in my head, but finding the balance between how little I can include to keep it secretive… and how much to include to make sure things aren’t confusing is difficult.

I know exactly what to do to fix this, all I need is the time and focus… and I’m excited to dig deeper into Chapter Two and unravel the bits and pieces.  Plus, Kaia is in chapter two, and Kaia is one of my favorites.  As soon as I can, I’m going to review chapter two and get that one to her as well.

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Is anyone else out there working with a CP?  My process is really slow, but this has been so exciting for me, and I’d love to hear about all your experiences too!  Share your favorite thing about your CP in the comments!

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