For a while there, I was going great guns. Two thousand, three thousand words in a sitting–man, the words were pouring out.
Now, though, they’re more like a trickle. I’ve got 47,054 of them, and that’s only about 50 more than I had two weeks ago.
The problem is that I keep reading and re-reading my favorite romance novels and then going back to my own work and thinking, “This really sucks. I’ll never be Loretta Chase/Susan Elizabeth Phillips/Susan Donovan/Rachel Gibson/Meredith Duran/Sherry Thomas/Julia Quinn/Joanna Bourne/anyone good.”
I think it’s time for some outside perspective. In my day job I edit other people’s stuff so I know how valuable it is to get someone to read over what you’ve written (at least, that’s what I tell my colleagues when I’m explaining why I’ve changed so much of what they wrote). So where do you go to find someone who can read your stuff and give you an informed critique? Without paying for it, I mean.
Those smart bitches say: “Keep your eyes and ears open. Spread the word among writers you know and trust who may already have critique partners, and let them know who and what you’re looking for. And above all: don’t compromise.”
But the only writers I know have never even read a romance novel. They’re journalists and charity comms professionals and academics. I haven’t joined RWA yet and have never met another aspiring romance novelist.
I have checked out some forums (fora?) and the sample writing I’ve seen on many of them send shivers down my spine. I read enough dross in my daily life to wallow in it at home, too.
Several people have posted ads on Harlequin’s online community, but what if you’re not writing category romance?
Dear Author has a great way of getting detailed reader feedback on a very, very small part of your manuscript. You can submit the first page and dozens of their community leave comments ripping it apart… I mean, critiquing it.
So what about you? Do you have a critique partner? Where did you find her? Do you think it’s still valuable to have a non-romance reader critique your stuff?