Monday, March 4, 2013

Wow, brain = fried

I literally spent all day today completing that MS critique, and almost turned off the computer when I typed my last in-document-comment around 7:30pm... but then I thought of how nice it would be to send it tonight so the author can have it all with no (further) delay.

So, a little more than two hours later, my summarizing commentary (4 single-spaced pages) is done, and I have sent it off.

I am hoping my in-document-comments will not make her burn me in effigy, as I added somewhere between 20,000-25,000 words to her MS... of just comments.

Yes, I have been told my critiques are overwhelming, which is why I normally do not send that file to people, just my "summary", but she requested it this time... and she had fair warning.

...and that's why I don't often take on beta-reading/critiquing projects, as I am incredibly thorough and it takes a lot out of me. My brain doesn't have the same stamina than non-dyslexic brains have... even small things make it work harder, and I get tired easily. But I still enjoy it. I wouldn't do it if I didn't.

Hopefully my comments will be helpful, as hers (on Brake Fluid), will be helpful when I get back to that story. She was the... third? person to suggest a title change, and I've almost made up my mind to do just that. I don't have any particular sentimentality/attachment to the current one, that was just the first thing that popped into my brain, and the title suggested (by everyone) is so ridiculously obvious I kinda feel like slapping myself on the forehead and saying, "duh."

Funny how the dyslexic brain works (or doesn't work). I've been so focused all day, used every scrap of my incredible powers of singularly-chasing-that-ball, and now that *work* is done, I swear my eyes have been glazed with a thick coating of lime Jello. Typing anything more than email for a couple days will certainly be difficult.

My mind feels floppy.

Does your mind feel floppy after a day like that?

What are your thoughts on critiquing/beta-reading? How in-depth do you usually go? Do you stick with line edits, or go for more of the over-arching things like pacing, character development, etc? Do you like giving critiques, or do you find it a chore?

What do you consider a *good* critique? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by comments, or do you usually hunger for more?

I'm definitely in the "shred it up and feed it back to me in small pieces" camp :) But then, some of you should already know that, as I am a self-proclaimed-masochist when it comes to receiving feedback ;)


  1. I prefer thorough critiques. I prefer to give full critiques too, but won't if the writer only wants specified feedback. The best critique would have to be if someone found every grammar and spelling mistake, plus added suggestions for the setting, plot, and character. For your title, I recently realized that Orson Scott Card is the best author I've encountered for titles. Almost all of his titles have dual-meanings within the text, which helps to wrap things up.

    1. Ah, so grammar/etc is one of your weaknesses too? Most CPs catch a number of my grammar blunders, which is always helpful :)

      I don't have any special attachment to titles, just so long as they seem relevant to the story. Often if bugs me when titles seem like they are trying to be too clever, or are stupidly vague (I hate one word titles).

    2. I'm actually very good at the grammar as compared to most people, but I always miss a few things.

  2. Ah, sweetie... I feel for you. Yep, I'm a pretty in-depth critter too, and it does take a lot out. I've actually kind of dropped the ball on my writers' group because of it. Too much going on outside of writing, and too many errors that would've been fixed with a simple once-over make me think the author isn't really interested in becoming the best author s/he can be. And yeah, I'm a perfectionist. Ask my own novel; she'll tell you :D

    1. Yeah, I find that frustrating too, which is why I've made a rule that I won't critique a story until the writer has made at least one editing pass on it.

      I find my comments won't be useful if I'm getting caught up in very very basic problems because I get confused and frustrated, so it's hard to concentrate on the bigger issues.

  3. Lately my brain always feels floppy. I've only beta read two novels, you and another


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