Writer’s Craft #89 – Writing is a Team Sport

T.W. Fendley
T.W. Fendley

T.W. Fendley is a multiple award-winning author of historical fantasy and science fiction for adults and young adults. Her debut novel, ZERO TIME, melds ancient Maya history with New Age spirituality and time travel. Readers chose ZERO TIME as the 2011 Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Novel.  A 1997 Clarion graduate, Fendley’s short stories have earned national recognition, including a Writers’ Digest award. When she’s not writing, she travels with her artist husband and tests practical uses of precognition. Learn more at www.twfendley.com.

Watching the Olympics, it’s easy to get caught up in an individual’s accomplishments. Yet what came before each athlete’s performance molded their success. It took more than talent, persistence and hard work. Just as athletes need coaches and other supporters along the way, so do writers. Writing is a team sport, and your critique partners can be some of the most important players on your team.

Over the years, I’ve found critique partners at writers’ groups, conferences and community college classes. Though it’s helpful to have partners who write in the same genre, it isn’t always necessary. In my first group, I was the only spec fiction writer among romance writers. They helped me learn how to look at my work critically and provided great insight into the business of writing.

Remember, the attitude you bring to the group has a direct bearing on what you get back. When you’re critiquing others, the “sandwich” is a good technique to use–give two slices of feedback about what’s working well before you get to the meat of what needs attention. When others critique you, their comments may not always resonate. If you hear the same comment more than once, however, there’s probably something you need to address.

You should feel energized and eager to write at the end of a critique session. If that’s not the case, you may need to keep looking until you find the right partners, ones who care about making your work the best it can be. You’ll never feel you’re performing alone on publishing’s balance beam if your team has your back.

Zero Time, $4.99 Kindle & Nook ebooks!


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