Let’s face it. When examining our own work, our view is often a tad… distorted.
We can read all the craft books in the world… and still be clueless as to how that information could be applied to our own writing. Sometimes it takes an outside eye to break us free of the constricting prison of our thoughts.
As writers, it’s only natural that we end up so close to our work we almost can’t see it. We’re so focused on one detail, we miss three or four more. Sure, we know exactly what we meant to achieve when we wrote that chapter, that scene, that “confusing” sentence—but in the mind of the reader, that meaning may be lost.
This is one of the great challenges of writing fiction: We can never really step outside our mind to view our work unbiased. We can learn the common pitfalls. We can devour novels until we get a sense for what works and what doesn’t. But in some shape or form, we’ll always be at least partially blind to the effects—even errors—of our own work.
And that brings me to the point of this little article.
It has been my great pleasure over the past few years to come alongside other writers and provide that outsider’s perspective. Not only to be eyes—in the way we all need an extra pair of eyes on our writing—but also to teach and mentor beginning writers, one critique at a time.
Admittedly, I might be an acquired taste: Brussels sprouts, not dessert. But for each critique I provide, my goal is always to help, to teach, and—in some cases, for some people, I hope—to shortcut years of stumbling in the dark. I try to be comprehensive in my analysis, looking at style, characterization, and plot—you name it… perhaps especially plot, given how much I’ve struggled in that area myself. As a result, my critiques—for some people—might be a tad overwhelming. Please bear that in mind should you find yourself in the position of considering a free critique.
In general, the most challenging feedback I’ve received, although painful, has lead to the largest growth spurt. It’s not always fun, but it can help. I’m also willing to cater to your needs if you’re hoping for something more gentle. Look below to see what others have said about my feedback.
What others have said:
“You are the first person to ask me why I write. Then you asked what answers my why. And you always point out practical ways toward the how.”
“As someone who has greatly benefited from your amazing, in-depth, detailed critiques complete with many references and articles to help guide the writing process; I can attest to your amazing abilities and your willingness to invest your time and resources into helping other writers.”