(Or, Enhance the Vision)
On your marks, critiquers/writers. My friend Kat Brauer means to raise $10,000 this year for charity water, and she’s rounded up a wave of authors and agents who’ve offered critiques. That’s right, my comrades-in-ink. You’ll have bucketsful of chances to bid on coveted critiques, while also helping people who will never be able to thank you. Every $20 earned for the campaign provides water for an individual for 20 years.
So, thank you.
As part of the campaign, check back here for critiquerly interviews with the donating authors/agents. I’ve pledged to help spray the news everywhere. And hear this: these people are fantastic.
Ready, set, go.
A charity water fact: Over a billion people lack safe water. That accounts for one-sixth of the world's population.
That’s why author/agent Lucienne Diver has donated a 20-pagecritique to the 2012 Crits for Water campaign (available now, April 11-12). This woman does it all, and one lucky Crits for Water participant will win Lucienne’s full attention.
Lucienne Diver is a literary agent with The Knight Agency. She has over eighteen years experience in the areas of fantasy/science fiction, mystery, suspense, romance and young adult fiction. She writes the Agent Anonymous articles for the SFWA Bulletin, as well as the Vamped young adult series for Flux Books and the Latter-Day Olympians series for Samhain Publishing, beginning with Bad Blood. Further information is available on The Knight Agency website: www.knightagency.net, her author site: www.luciennediver.com and her blog: http://luciennediver.
NAE: After a writer receives an in-depth critique, what do you recommend in terms of a review/revise process?
Lucienne: I recommend waiting a few days after reading the critique to even begin the revision process. Let the comments sink in, give your back-brain a chance to work on the solutions. Also, this gives you the distance to react practically rather than emotionally to comments. We all want to hear that our work is truly wonderful, and hopefully your critiquer will let you know where things have succeeded as well as where they've failed. But the real benefit of a critique is discovering weak points so that they can be corrected before they become a reason for rejection. Review and revision gives the writer a chance to make the work all it can be. Once you've gone through the revision, read the whole work over again to make sure that you didn't introduce any inconsistencies or redundancies or skip over anything that might have been too overwhelming to tackle the first time through. You'll be amazed at how many errors remain no matter how many times you've read a work. The more read-throughs you do, the more you'll catch.
NAE: What is one of the worst mistakes a critiquer can make?
Lucienne: There are two types of editors or critiquers: those who help the writer enhance his or her vision and those who try to impose their own. Don't be the latter. Remember, it's not about how =you= would write the work.
NAE: What is your general process when you critique someone’s work?
Lucienne: Because I represent over forty authors, many of whom write multiple books a year, I don't often get the chance to do a second read before critiquing. This means that I read once, but very carefully, making notes as I go about inconsistencies, problems, sections that happened too quickly or two slowly and all off that sort of thing. My approach is different depending on whether I'm reading material that's about to go out on submission or a manuscript that's already under contract. In the case of the former, I do line and copyedit as I catch things, because I don't want anything at all to distract an editor from the quality of the writing. On the former, I know that the editor, copyeditor, etc. will sweat the small stuff, and I mostly make comments about bigger issues.
Thanks, Lucienne. If you’d like Lucienne to enhance your work’s vision with a 20-page critique, follow thedirections here (available April 11th).
Good luck, save lives, and thank you again.