Today we have a special guest here Inside the Pod. M sat down with author K. D. Wood and asked her a few probing questions. Here is what K. D. had to say...
The day I finished my first manuscript was one of the most
amazing, terrifying, exhilarating and confusing days of my life. It is also a
moment that is forever burned into my brain because I remember staring at the
screen and thinking, now what?
Unfortunately back then, I wasn’t pals with many writers. I
just wrote for the pure thrill of putting that first story on the page and
giving it life. Confused by my research and desperate to know where my story
stood, I decided to start the submission process after only two revisions.
Nineteen rejection letters later, it was glaringly obvious I
needed a new approach to my manuscript. I started reaching out and connecting
with other writers. This led me to understand just how important finding great
critique partners can be for a work in progress.
Because just letting your mama/best friend/spouse read your
manuscript won’t help move your manuscript or your writing forward. Your family
loves you. They want you to be happy. This means unless your family/friend
reader works in the publishing industry they are going to tell you that your
book is AMAZING. That the story is the best thing they have ever read.
They are going to tell you what they think you want to hear because
that’s what people who love you do.
Now that I’ve ripped that band aid off.
I. How do you go
about finding a critique partner or group?
There are many, many
different options for finding other writers. But first, you have to decide
which platform will work better for your personality. Face to face interactions
or online. If you want to mingle with
other writers in person, start locally. Look for writers groups for your
particular genre. My own group River
City Romance Writers I discovered while partaking in another resource. I
heard about RCRW while attending MidsouthCon in Memphis, TN.
Writer’s retreats, conventions, library groups, book clubs, coffee shops and
book signings are all great places to meet other writers.
Recently, I got to know a few writers who have a hard time
in social situations due to Aspergers. Though working hard on their novels,
they struggle with interacting in social settings. If that’s a hurdle you also
face, there are online communities for writers too, and one in particular is Bookcountry. Facebook is packed with
writers. I’ve made some amazing writers pals participating in #WordWar on
And let’s say after you take this crucial first step, you
hit writer’s gold and meet someone or a group of people you want to hang out
and talk writing with. There are several very important questions you need to
II. What do you want
to accomplish as a member of a critique group or with your new critique
If you and your new potential writing pals are not on the
same page about goals, conflicts will arise very fast. So you need to ask the
questions that are most important to your writing goals. Communication,
III. Are you writing
as a hobby or on the road to publication?
These two things are very different and can make or break a
potential relationship. If you’re pounding away on your novel, preparing for
submissions, churning out those word counts every day, you need to make sure
your future critique partners are in it to win it also. Otherwise, you’ll just
end up frustrated because your goals are so different.
One of the best ways to make sure you don’t run into this
issue is to ask this question of yourself.
IV. Are you setting
realistic critique goals for your group or partnership?
Let’s face it. Life is extremely busy. We all have stuff to
do whether it’s jobs, family, kids or laundry. There are a million things to be
done every day. When you have these initial conversations with your potential
critique partner or partner it’s a question you need to address. If you’re a
full time writer, pounding out those words eight hours a day but your potential
partner has a twelve hour shift at the hospital, there will have to be some
extreme specifics in time management ironed out for both sides to be happy with
the partnership. And even with a situation like this, if your personalities and
writing style are so in sync, anything is possible if you work hard enough to
find a middle ground.
Now for those more uncomfortable questions.
V. Will your
potential critique partners be willing to call you out on accountability when
you start being a big old whiner-pants?
This is the part of finding critique partners that involves
making sure you’re compatible as friends first. As a critique partner you need
someone who is able to tell you to pull your head out of your ass without
crushing your spirit but who also won’t let you get away with whining and when
you don’t have your pages for the week completed. Someone who is bleeding on
the keyboard the same way you are, who can understand when you break down and
want to shred your latest revision and just how crappy that feels.
Finally, there is one VERY important step to helping you
move forward in your writing and finding a critique partnership.
IF YOU’R BOOK ISN’T
FINISHED, MAKE FINISHING YOUR MANUSCRIPT A PRIORITY – Everyone’s time is
valuable. Joining a critique group and not having your pages complete for
meetings or delivering a stinging critique to someone who is working on their
11th draft when you haven’t even reached the first END on your own
is disrespectful to your friends and the time they are investing in your work. Everyone
in your new group needs to be pulling his or her weight, so don’t you be the
straggling zombie shambling behind everyone else. Write the very best book you
can. That way, you will be open to all the hard work that comes with diving
into a new revision with lots of great ideas from your new critique partners.
K.D. Wood lives in
north Mississippi with her husband, two boys and one very bad puppy. She writes
Young Adult and New Adult Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. Visit her on
Facebook (K.D. Wood) and follow her on twitter @KDWoodauthor