Yesterday was critique group day. I belong to two critique groups. One contains people who are writing middle grade or YA novels. The other group is mostly picture books. I attend both of them because it keeps me motivated. It isn’t that I don’t think my novel group could give feedback on my picture book manuscript or that my picture book group couldn’t say what they think of a chapter in my novel. But each group seems best at what it does.
The picture book group is sort of fluid and as people keep taking classes more people get invited to the group but the group manages to stay to about 4-6 people each week. So every time I go it seems like there is at least one new person there.
Usually it is a person who I haven’t taken a class with so we don’t have an established trust factor going on with regards to critiquing stories.
This week I brought a rewrite of a picture book that I’ve been working on. As I’ve mentioned before I’m trying to tell the story from the dog’s point of view in this story. The revision felt like a stretch creatively and I tried to tell more of the dog’s story. The version I brought was very rough and I know it needs more dialog, more show, less tell.
After my last critique group I was ready to do one of two things.
1) Give up on the story and hide it in a folder with my inexperienced stories from when I first started writing.
2) Submit the story to a kids magazine just to see if it could get published and not have to keep revising it.
But I didn’t. See I have a dream of this story being a picture book. Last time we met the ladies in my group had rewritten their stories so that some were unrecognizable from what they were before. They stretched themselves creatively by trying different forms. If they could do that surely I could look at my story with new eyes.
What do you do after critique groups? Do you go home and revise like crazy? Do you let the manuscript sit for a day and think about what it has done before diving in to revisions?