As a working editor, and former book reviewer, it’s easy to tell which authors haven’t bother to have their work critiqued or edited.
Any advice I give, whether in articles or e-books on writing for children or writing in general, I always include the importance of belonging to a critique group. Even experienced authors depend on the unique perspective and extra eyes that each critique member provides.
The critique group can catch a number of potential problems with your manuscript:
1. grammatical errors
2. holes in your story
3. unclear sentences, paragraphs, or dialogue
4. the forward movement of the story
5. overuse of a particular word, adjectives and adverbs
6. unnecessary words to help create a tight story
The list goes on and on. And, there are even more potential problems to be watched out for when writing for children. It’s near impossible for even an experienced writer to catch all his or her own errors.
Your critique partners will also provide suggestions and guidance. Note here, it is up to you whether to heed those suggestion and comments, but if all the members of your group suggest you rewrite a particular sentence for clarity, hopefully a light will go off and you’ll pay attention.
Along with having those extras sets of eyes to help you along, you will begin to see your own writing improve. You will also be able to find your own errors and those of others much quicker. This will help you become a better and more confident writer.
Now, while the critique group does not take the place of an editor, they do help you get to the point where you think you’re ready for submission. At this point, it is always advisable to seek an editor to catch what you and your critique group misses. And, believe me, there will be something in your manuscript that wasn’t picked up on.
When looking into joining a critique group, be sure the group you join has both new and experienced writers. The experienced writers will help you hone your craft just through their critiques of your work.
So, today’s tip: if you’re not already a member of a critique group, join one today!
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