Tonight is your critique group's meeting and you're psyched. You've worked hard on your story. You expect nothing but compliments. Then you read your scene and your high is brought low.
Partner One folds her hands. "The scene is beautifully written. You have such a way with description. But is the scene necessary?"
"Too much description?" you ask.
Partner One shakes her head. "Not exactly, but before you write, remember the three purposes of a scene are to define character, to give added information and to advance the plot."
Partner Two leans forward. "That's where the problem lies. You have a great setting, interesting characters, but your plot has too many holes."
"Holes in my plot?"
"Your plot can be saved," Partner Two says. "You need to think about your story and select the most important elements. Look again at the who, when, where, what, why and how."
You check your work. "I forgot the what and the why."
"You've got it."
Partner Three looks at the notes she's been making while you read. "Your characters have good motivations for their actions, but I think the dialogue needs work. All your characters sound alike and they sound like you."
These three partners have given you indications of where you've gone right and where you've gone wrong. In the process you've learned something, plus discovered the value of critiques. But what happens if you can't connect with a critique partner or a group of other writers who are willing to play the role of critiquers?
Becoming Your Own Critique Partner is designed to help you find the flaws in your manuscript and correct them. The areas where less-than-sharp images can cause a rejection will be illustrated by examples of the wrong and the right ways to create images and a discussion of the various stumbling points to keep you from being led astray. It will also show you where your areas of excellence are. Checklists and exercises will aid in eliminating flaws and help to improve your writing.