Anyone who’s ever attempted a creative work knows the stamina required. You spend hours writing and rewriting, crafting characters and scenes, obsessing over the most minor word selection only to scrap entire sentences and start again. It’s intense and it’s personal – and many writers refuse to send their work out into the world until they’re absolutely sure it’s ready.
But how do you know something’s ready when you’re too close to see the big picture anymore? You’ve read each scene so many times that your mind sees what it knows should be there, rather than the glaring typo fresh eyes wouldn’t miss. The scenes play out in your head as you reread, so you don’t even realise you’ve forgotten to tell your reader that the murderer placed the weapon on the desk and the maid, who they think is witnessing it all, actually left the room three pages ago.
The solution at this stage is critiquing – let someone else read it. Because your work can get better when someone new is allowed to step in. Critique groups can help, but you have to be sure you have the right one. We hear so many stories of writers who’ve given up due to a bad critique from a group focussed on criticism rather than constructive feedback. If you have a great critique group, treasure it – they are a rarity. If you don’t, consider bringing a professional on board.
To make the most of a paid critique you need two important things: to know what you want from the experience and to be open to getting feedback you didn’t know you needed. Our Writer’s Surgery program has found that most critiques involve discussions of writing practice and craft; advice on structure, strengths and weaknesses, as well as suggestions for improvement; recommendations for submissions, networking and opportunities; as well as reassurance or guidance on the formatting of work for submission.
Queensland Writers Centre members find The Writer’s Surgery program is a great way to develop their professional practice while receiving objective, and respected, one-on-one advice and feedback in a supportive environment. We have professional advisors in all areas of writing including genre, literary, children’s and screenwriting. So, if it’s fresh eyes that your work needs, check out our Writer’s Surgery list and make it happen! Book your Writer’s Surgery session today and you could be on your way to a publishable work in no time.