Saturday, January 9, 2016

Critiquing and Being Critiqued Peggy Blann Phifer

Why is it so hard to see our own errors when we can so easily spot them in others’ work?

I recently joined ACFW’s (American Christian Fiction Writers) ‘Scribes’ critique group, and I’m learning a lot. So far, I’ve critiqued two submissions, though I’ve not yet submitted anything of my own. Just too chicken, I guess, but I’ll have to bite the bullet soon.
In one of those critiques I did, I found–among other errors–two misused words: i.e. palate rather than palette, and was told by the author that no one else had caught that, and she was grateful.

I’ve also read some of the critiques of other works, just to see how they go about it, and I’ve found that I disagree with some of their corrections/suggestions. On the other hand, I’ll see something that knocks me upside the head, and I think, ‘Aha! I get it!’
I’m also taking an online course in proofreading and copyediting. Not to set myself up in that business, but as another way to improve my own writing. So far, it has helped me tremendously.

Anyway, I’ve learned so much through this process and am trying now to spot some of these things in my own work more objectively, finding ‘weasel’ words, ‘purple’ prose, (I love words!) and so on, yet it’s still hard.

I so appreciate the edits by Kathi Macias and Anne Baxter Campbell in all my stories for Helping Hands Press. Thank you both for your diligence.

While I try not to be too sensitive or protective of my ‘babies,’ I will defend certain things. For example, I’m passionate about never using the semi-colon in fiction. If an editor feels it’s needed, I want to be given the chance to rewrite it a different way.

As a perfectionist with an internal, infernal editor that won’t go hide somewhere –I will labor over the right words, good sentence structure and the like. I’m nearly finished with the third volume in my Sweetwater River series and have rewritten the same four paragraphs at least four times over the last two days. Not even sure I’m happy with the way I left it, but I need to move on and write the last thousand or so words to The End.
If I’ve strayed a bit from the title above, forgive me. Still, I’d love to get some feedback on all this. Like, how to banish that annoying ‘person’ constantly perched on my shoulder or any other tricks you use when editing your own work. Please share!

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