|Photo credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr|
I’ve noticed over the years, however, that many writers have hugely different processes as far as what they share with their critique partners and when, which I find pretty fascinating.
For example: I don’t usually share any book ideas with anyone before I’ve started working on a project, largely because I don’t know if a book idea is going to work out until I’ve written at least 10k—my marker for this will actually be a full manuscript and not just an experiment (and even then it’s not really a guarantee). Ideas that I love are hard for me to come by. Even after I’ve plotted something out, and I really like the potential of the story, I never feel confident enough to share it until I’m sure I’m going to finish the manuscript, because I have a history of deciding after a few thousand words that this idea isn’t going to work out.
On the flip side, I know many writers who have many book ideas at a time, and often share them with their critique partners (or even their agents) to get early feedback.
After I’ve written the first draft, I put it away for (at least) a month before diving back into it for revisions. My critique partners never see my first drafts. This is for a couple reasons. Firstly, because I always fast-draft my first drafts, I usually finish with a list (mental, or physical) of things I already know I need to fix or expand upon. This list is usually grows when I do my first read-through, and as I tend not to like to send my critique partners a project I already know has tons of problems, I don't. Maybe it’s just the practical part of me, but if I can tackle and fix a problem before my critique partners know it exists, all the better.
Secondly, because I fast-draft all my first drafts, my first drafts are…er, let’s say not my best writing. Which is totally to be expected with first drafts, but again, I personally prefer to send my critique partners work that I’ve at least attempted to polish.
On the other hand, I know many writers who send their critique partners the first draft basically they day they finish writing. Or maybe a few days later, after doing a super-quick round of tweaks here and there. And that works for them, and that’s awesome.
Lately, my process has been to send my first round of critique partners draft two-point-something. The last one was two point one (meaning I went through two rounds of revision before sending the manuscript to my first round of CPs), and judging by the way this revision is going, it’ll probably be the same for this latest project. And then I basically go back and forth with different rounds of CPs and betas until I’m satisfied and send it off to my agent.
But for me, the only person to lay eyes on the first draft is me, myself, and I. And though I can’t assume that’ll never change, for now, I intend to keep it that way.
Now I want to hear from you: when do you send your WIP to your CPs? And do you share unwritten book ideas with them?
When do you send your MS to CPs? And do you share your unwritten WIP ideas? Join the discussion on @Ava_Jae's blog. (Click to tweet)
Unsure when to send your MS to CPs? @Ava_Jae shares her CP-trading process. (Click to tweet)