First Critter for “The Council”

Crit Circle

Desperate for critiques, Beta Readers, feedback of any sort, I slowly but sure started to spread myself far and wide. At first, just sending off a copy of the entire manuscript every time somebody said they’d like to trade beta reading.

Never heard back from any of them.

Then I started joining Critique My Work sites, but they were hard to navigate unless you wanted to pay for a membership, or put in the time critiquing other’s work. Which is totally fair. So I dutifully filled out some critiques and earned enough credit to submit a story, and I put chapter one out there about a week ago.

Bupkis. For days.

But, then I got one. And since the site rewards you with critiques that are a certain length, going in increments of half-credit for word counts, I noted that many simply copy/paste your work into their crit, and then make notes after each paragraph.

Which I hate.

Because, well, read the damn thing, then give feedback on the questions asked. Don’t comb through and tell me to put in a comma or consider one word over another. I’m not asking you to write the fucking thing for me, I’m asking you to read the work and answer the questions at the end. I KNOW it needs editing, and I’m upfront about that. What I need is feedback from a reader, not an editor.

The first one would just quote words and then put in a question mark. At times, saying “I don’t know what this means.” I kind of felt like I was a stranger in a strange land until I saw that we’d critiqued the same story at one point. Which means I can read their critique of the other story.

I was relieved to see much of the same. Question marks, references missed, lots of “consider: [insert word here]”. Then I went to see what stories this person had written themselves.

Early YA novels focusing on teaching children about economy, currency and money.

Holy shit, what?

I have always been an avid reader, and I have always loved a good story even if it was intended to teach me about something as incredibly boring as currency and economy. But to make that the point… I have never heard of such a thing.

So I tried reading and, well, I wasn’t surprised that it is incredibly boring. The writer asks for critiques on bad writing habits they may fall into or any feedback at all. Which is great. But how do you take one chapter at a time and explain that the entire concept is a complete waste of time?

But then I realise that maybe I’m being a bit of a bitch over what was largely an unfavourable review. And I’m thankful that they took the time to further reiterate to me that the entire chapter is in sore need of a complete rewrite/overhaul. But wow, sometimes I question my desire to “put myself out there” when even the simplest of interactions leaves me bitterly disappointed.

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This website, my whole life and family, and all my writing, all live on Noongar Whadjuk Boodja that was never ceded, and I offer my respect and acknowledgement to the true custodians of the land and traditional storytellers past, present and emerging.