The secret to a good novel is clever critique partners. I told this to one of my crit partners before, but I think it deserves a post.
I got back a critique the other day and it had, basically, rewritten my entire chapter. I don’t mean she rewrote it per se, but that so much of it was commented with suggestions on what to do, that it meant I was rewriting the whole damn thing… this is the second time this has happened in as many chapters.
Admittedly, I was never fond of this particular chapter. It’s one of those necessary chapters, but I was never happy with it. Flow was off, words were awkward, and it was soooooo long.
This chapter was the perfect example of a conversation I often have that goes like this:
“Is this chapter good enough so that I don’t have to work on it anymore?”
“If you’re asking yourself that, then it isn’t.”
Now this chapter sings. It wasn’t me who did it either. It was my crit partner.
I love when the crits are so spot on that you rip up your entire thing to redo it. What you get afterward is something awesome. There are so many one-liners or witty lines that I wasn’t clever enough to come up with, or which came from a question asked by someone.
At first, I didn’t want to believe that my story made no sense. But, and here’s the thing, my crit partners have no reason to lie. If they don’t understand something, why should they tell me they did?
So I edit and I fix things, and you know what? I have a chapter that is way better than I started with.