WRITING, MISTAKES, AND CRITIQUE GROUPS!

Hi SEers! Denise here, and I’m going to share some mistakes and things I missed from my work. Why? To show why a second pair of eyes or a critique group can be so important.

These are actual mistakes from my current work in progress and the comments from my amazing Critique Partners, Yvette M Calleiro and P.T. L. Perrin. I call these my Author Bloopers. A few, especially the last one, had me laughing out loud once I realized what I had said. The others had me cringing or nodding in agreement. I will follow up with the current corrected version which may change and improve with more edits.

Three eyes in the dark
  1. “They will think I have too much time on my heads, but I’m okay with that…” (heads? How many do you have? I think you meant hands—PTL) Simple fix: “They will think I have too much time on my hands…”
  2. I’d like that too, Jane.” Drea’s coffee kicked, and she needed to move… (What did her coffee kick?—PTL) Here’s the corrected version: “I’d like that too, Jane.” Drea’s coffee kicked in, and she needed to move.
  3. Tears overflowed and raced down Drea’s face that she impatiently wiped away. (She impatiently wiped away the tears that overflowed…. Where you have it now makes it seem as if she’s wiping her face away.—PTL) This works better: Tears overflowed and raced down Drea’s face.
  4. In a few moments, she was satisfied after applying some lipstick. (After applying some lipstick, she was satisfied. Although, would this really be a thought of someone who might have a killer outside?—YC) The sentence could use the suggested correction, but another good point was brought up. No, I wouldn’t be fixing my make-up if a killer was stalking me. I deleted this.
  5. There were no tracks, but they did lead up to her front window. (Who/what does ‘they’ refer to? There were no tracks to her door but the track led up to her window? That doesn’t make sense to me.—YC) Wow! It didn’t make any sense. Here’s what I have right now: She moved her light to the walkway that went to her front door. The tracks veered off the main path and led to her front window.
  6. “Hang on, let me get that stool.” (What does the stool look like? Is it red and blue? Does it have superheroes on it?—YC) I removed that sentence and added more detail: “Oh, sorry. I’ll meet you in there.” Drea frowned when Charlie slipped off the blue stool. Robbie had it gotten for his second birthday and it still had the Batman stickers on it. He used that step every day until he could finally reach the sink on his own. But the stool was not meant for a dog to use.
  7. Drea stood up and went back into the kitchen to make more coffee… (How much coffee does this woman drink? LOL!—YC) Very valid point! I gave her some water here and there: Drea stood up and went back into the kitchen to get a glass of water…
  8. He bent down and patted the dog and the head. (Patted the dog and WHAT HEAD? Sounds like a head is floating around waiting to be petted. :-o—PTL) When I was done laughing, I fixed it: He bent down and patted the dog’s head.
Two people sitting at laptops working.

These were all simple fixes of things that my eyes didn’t see. What I was seeing was what I intended, not what I wrote. While some were just misplaced words, needed more clarity, or to show more.

I love the honesty and humor of these two amazing writers. They make my work better, and I try to do the same for them. I’ve become the person who asks all the questions in our group.

Of course, you can skip the critique group and use a beta reader and an editor, but honestly, I need all three. Critique groups offer in-depth suggestions that can help your story as they go over a chapter or two at a time. Beta readers can give advice using the full picture because they read the entire book simultaneously while the editors clean everything up.

We all make mistakes writing, and it’s wonderful to have those extra eyes going over our work to help us find them.

What about you? Have you ever been a part of a critique group? Did it benefit you or not?

104 thoughts on “WRITING, MISTAKES, AND CRITIQUE GROUPS!

  1. Loved your examples Denise. I’m sure those ‘bloopers’ are oh so common to us all, lol. I know for sure, because I write my books in longhand, when I go to begin revisions – and beyond, I’ll find similar mistakes where I missed a word that beared value to the context. I always attribute that to I’m always ahead of myself. Also, when we read our work a million times, we begin to see what we intend to be there and miss things still, lol. Thank goodness for editors. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t afford expensive editors to correct my gaffes, so my critique group is invaluable. There are six in our group and each one notices something different. It’s helpful to have that many eyes on my manuscript. Maybe the odd thing slips by, but for the most part, my books are fairly clean (punctuation wise, anyway, lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post, Denise! A second (or third, fourth, etc.) pair of eyes is so important, especially when we’ve re-read the same story multiple times. Words tend to run together when we’re in our creative mindset. Thanks for sharing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for sharing some of your critique group’s comments, Denise. So funny when they’re pointed out to us, aren’t they? And we all make those slip ups. Our brains are amazing at fudging what’s written… which is why it’s so hard to see our typos! An entertaining post and valuable reminder to get eyes on our work.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. A wonderful post. It made me laugh!
    I’m in an online critique group. There are about 3 people who regularly critique my chapters, which is very helpful as they follow the story all through. Thus, they can say ‘Didn’t he have dark hair in Chapter 10?’ or things like that.
    I also regularly critique their work, too, so it’s mutual critiquing.
    I also get critiques from other members, too, that adds a new dimension. I also critique others’ works, but try to find an early chapter as it’s easy to say something isn’t clear when it was a explained in an earlier chapter. That’s why I like it that I’ve managed to find a couple of regular critiquers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so happy you enjoyed this post V.W! It made me laugh again too writing it. It’s great you found an online critique that’s so helpful and they catch mistakes like the hair color changes:) You make a good point that it is easy to forget what’s happened or been explained in previous chapters. It is very lucky to find critique partners, I agree!

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  6. The best move I’ve made since I’ve started writing was to find a trusted critique group. We have developed an excellent level of trust. Each member understands that when we’re offering recommendations, the comments are merely made to help rather than criticize. I would estimate that over 90% of the time, their suggestions are right on the money. One thing that works well for us is each writer must listen to the others’ critiques before commenting. After that, we move into open discussion, where the writer may respond to others’ suggestions.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You bring up an important part of the group, trust. We have each other’s backs to improve our WIP. I will point out if I like something as well. I think it’s important to not only know what isn’t working and what is. I agree it’s over 90 percent that the suggestions are right. It’s nice you can move into a open discussion and share suggestions. One of my best decisions to be a part of one too, Pete 🙂

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  7. That last one had us all laughing hard during a meeting. I never pass up a chance to laugh or share laughter, so I’m glad offering my mistakes got some laughter! It is wonderful to have that help catch those silly sentences. Yes, our group works well together, I’m lucky!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that you were willing to share your goofs, Denise. That last one with the dog and the head really had me laughing out loud. I have made many mistakes like these myself and am so thankful I have critique partners to catch may blunders. They are invaluable!
    This was a fun and informative post. It also sounds like you have two great Cps!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Entertaining post, I and I suspect most other authors have produced worse, (lol- or better- dependent upon your view) mistakes. One night, the muse upon me as well as almost a bottle and a half of red wine, I continued with a tale. I had taken the “write drunk, edit sober” thing to heart. No Idea what the gobbledygook I had written the night before meant.None whatsoever.

    Liked by 4 people

    • That is so funny, Ray 🙂 You really took write that drunk writing to heart. Too bad it ended up gobbleygook the next day and couldn’tbe edited. You never know what our muses have in mind, but they definitely have a sense of humor 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Shakespeare? that little know minstrel. I was the god of writing( for that night only), Voltaire, the scalpel, wit and nuance, Pragmatism blossomed in me and Playwrights held my writing elbow. Assuring I could write more without tiring; my fingers magic, streaming across the keys, each key stroke, emitting harmonies( Imagine Mike Oldfield’s “Ommadawn”. Ludovico Einaudi’s “experience” or even Conquest of paradise,(1492) Vangelis. I was indeed the ultimate truth teller and fantasist for that short while. You lesser authors (kidding) would be weeping beneath my majesty. Lol until I woke and realized that rather than curing the ills of the world I had simply written a load of Sh*t.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I belong to a writers’ group, and when I share a chapter with them, I get lots of invaluable feedback. When I finish the entire manuscript, I have two critique partners who are wonderful, and when I get their comments and fix my mistakes, I know my manuscript’s in good shape. My stories are so much better when I get outside feedback!

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Oh my gosh, what I wouldn’t give for a critique group! LOL! Next year, I’ll be rewriting the Heart Stone Chronicles, which was my first book. What I needed was a critique group and an editor. I have the editor, now I just need a group! LOL! Thanks for sharing the real world of writing, Denise. We all benefit from your insights. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  12. This is such a great post to show why we need several sets of eyes on our work, Denise. You have a super critique group and when we formed them, I was envious of you guys as our group was weaker. 🙂 But I continue to critique with my sister (totally awesome author) and Heather Kindt, and it is so helpful to have that immediate feedback. I also think it helps when the story is done as far as having fewer edits. Thank you for sharing and I applaud critique groups!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thank you, Jan! I got super lucky with this group. We bonded quickly and got comfortable with each other to express our thoughts. Having people willing to be honest with you is such a blessing when your work is weak or good. You are so lucky to have your sister and Heather now! It does help with edits and allows your focus more on the story and less looking for those type of errors. Plus, the encouragement and not feeling alone is a gift to a writer. Yay critique groups!

      Liked by 3 people

  13. What a great post, Denise. I have been a beta reader quite a few times now and I am the one asking those questions as your two friends do. It is fun to help out however I can.
    And yeah, we can only see so much after we have written and read and re-read…

    Liked by 3 people

  14. What a great post, Denise. Plenty of “yep” smiles chuckles, because the mistakes are all too familiar. Thank goodness for beta reader friends and a strong editor! What would we do without them? 💗

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks, Gwen 🙂 We all make them and it’s great when we can laugh at ourselves. I agree beta readers and editors are equally as important! I only started out using editors but now can’t imagine not having beta readers or now a critique group.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. I used to belong to in-person writing groups, but I think those are only valuable for beginners. They’re too big and only scratch the surface. I now have an intimate circle of critique partners, and they’re amazing. I’d be lost without them.

    Your examples showed exactly why CPs are so valuable. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • We had a local group where I live, but the time didn’t work for me. It was a big group and wondered how that worked. I think I got lucky first time out finding my partners. I’d be lost without them too!

      Thanks, Staci 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  16. I have critique partners as well. One of my most memorable mistakes was when I worked at a Jewish news paper and wrote obituaries. I wrote “Sons of Italy Cemetery” and it should have been “Sons of Israel Cemetery”. I didn’t notice, it read fine to me. The proofreader caught it. We did have a good laugh. Nice post.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I can see how easy it would be to make that error. Both starting with I and our eyes pass it by with what we intended. That laughter is such a great addition to our day, isn’t it? Thank you, Michele 🙂

      Liked by 3 people

  17. I was in a critique group that met weekly for several years. It worked for me for a while but then the group got too large. Several who attended were “want to be writers.” That’s okay, I was once in that position, but there were others who were entirely too needy, then they would decide they didn’t want to write and not show up for months only to reappear again and be just as needy.

    For the past three or four years, I’ve had online critique partners. They are published authors who know their way around writing. Their feedback is invaluable. You’d be surprised at some of the laughable mistakes I’ve made. Great post, Denise.

    Liked by 5 people

    • That’s great you had that experience of meeting once a week and it worked until it got too big. I think at first some education is needed before a critique group. That would take away the needy factor.

      That’s amazing you found a new online group. Yes, having published authors who know their way around writing is priceless. Those laughable mistakes add to the experience and helps bond us as writers since we all make them. Thanks, Joan!

      Liked by 3 people

  18. Great post. Some of these had me laughing aloud. It sounds like you’ve found a wonderful pair of critique partners. I did have some, but over time, life took them away. I guess I need to write a blog post to ask if anyone might be interested. Thanks for sharing, Denise 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  19. Great post, Denise, and I’m honored to be a small part of it. 😉 I love and value our critique group. Honestly, I don’t know how I wrote without it before. Lol! The advice you and Patty give makes the story come more alive, and I’m so grateful for it. It isn’t just the errors you find, though. It’s also about the encouragement, inspiration, and suggestions shared. The life of an author can feel very isolating, but our critique group reminds me that I’ve got a great support system to help me through those struggling moments.

    I can’t wait to release my newest novel to the world. Like you, I had beta readers go through it, and their comments were valuable, but you and Patty took it to a completely different level. The suggestions you two have given have strengthened the story, and I’m proud of the final product. 🙂 I hope others take a chance on joining a critique group because it’s a win-win for everyone. 🙂

    Liked by 7 people

    • Thank you, Yvette 😉 I love and value our critique group too. At first I wasn’t sure it would work, now like you I wonder how I survived without it. It is more than finding errors, for sure. It gives us the nudge we need to keep going and the support to do it.

      I have to admit, I’m as excited for you for the release as I would be my own book. You should be proud of it. I can’t wait to read it all the way through… lol! Yes, finding the right group is a wonderful experience. Hugs xo

      Liked by 2 people

  20. Critique groups are great. Mine meets in person once a month. I write ghost and vampire stories, and my fellow writers decidedly DON’T write any sort of horror, but they still have lots of good advice and are particularly good at catching logic errors.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. Pingback: Stop by and say hi! Writing, Mistakes, and Critique Groups—STORY EMPIRE. #writingcommunity #storyempire #critiquegroups – Author D.L. Finn

  22. Never been part of a critique group for more that 2 sessions. The times I tried didn’t go well. Sole novelist among people writing letters to editors or rewriting favorite TV show episodes. Nobody knew what to do with me. Fantasy wasn’t a commonly read genre either, so they had no interest in the subject.

    I do have fun stumbling into my screw ups. Sometimes I remember why they happened like I heard a similar word to what I was writing.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I can see why that group didn’t work out for you, Charles! Completely different worlds writing fantasy over TV episodes or letters to editors. You are right the others need to be interested and invested in your work. Sorry it didn’t work out for you.

      The mess ups are certainly fun to find and nice we can laugh at ourselves. Makes sense you heard a similar word and used it.

      Liked by 4 people

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