Thursday, June 03, 2010

Me and the Barracudas

By Nichole Giles

Okay. We’ve talked about critique groups, and how important they are in our writing journey. We’ve talked about how to take critiques and how to give them.

So what’s left?

It’s time to talk about the barracudas. These are your alpha and beta critique partners, those people who know the ins and outs of writing and don’t pull any punches. They give it to you straight. Or, at least, you expect them to.

These people aren’t always in your regular group. They may not even be people with whom you’re close friends (a fact that could be both good and bad on some level). What they are is one more step toward reaching that 100% of where you need to be before you start the submission process.

Some people pay big money to have professional editors make their manuscripts bleed. Others trade manuscripts with authors whom they’ve come to know through various networking channels. Whatever you choose, remember that you’re doing this in order to better your manuscript.

Not everything a barracuda says will be right or true or work for your story, so you have to be confident enough to make that judgement on your own. Because no matter who your barracuda is, the story belongs to you and you alone.

It’s a really big ocean, and guppies likely won’t survive. Most of us aren’t here to be sharks, but if we want to endure, we have to learn to swim with the barracudas.

I think fins will probably look good on me. What about you?


Evelyn Campbell Curtis said...

I think I finally found my barracuda. I have had many offers of friends and acquaintances to read my manuscript. None of them, I have ever even considered. I didn't trust that they would be what was best for me.... aka the "barracuda."

I met someone knew last week, and I think she will be my barracuda!

Carolyn V. said...

Yes, I have barracudas. They are awesome! =)

Nichole Giles said...

Evelyn, congratulations on finding a barracuda for your ms. That's excellent.

Carolyn, isn't it wonderfully painful to see your manuscript bleed? But we love it, right?