Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reviewing A Draft Before Sharing

Recently, I went through and critiqued a short story through Critters.  It was one of the worst things I've read.  The writing was so bad and littered with inexcusable grammatical errors that I completely lost track of what the story was about.  Because the writer sent the draft in such poor condition, I really think he/she will not get the best feedback on the story because I believe other readers/critiquers will also be distracted by the poor writing.  Also, since there are lots of stories to choose from constantly through Critters (and other online writing/critting groups) that some may start, get fed up and decide to choose another story that is easier to read.  Poorly written stories can take more time to critique.

Now, let me remind everyont that I'm a fan of Critters.  Overall, I feel they've helped my draft novel, Legacy Soldier, progress and improve.  They also helped me find some stupid mistakes.  There is only so much you can do to edit your own work because you're so close to it that you know what you want to say and sometimes confuse that with what you're actually saying in the story.  That's where having others to give an objective read is important.  That said, we as writers should try to give our best draft to beta readers/editors.

Even a first draft shouldn't go out as just after it's been written.  If you want the best quality feedback, send the best quality drafts.  I know I've mentioned these tricks/tools before, but let me go through a few again.

Run a spell/grammar check.  These tools aren't infallible, but they do help clean up a story.  Another trick I've heard is to read your story/chapter to yourself out loud.  Does it sound right?  If you have a friend/family member willing, let them read it to you.  If they have trouble reading parts, you may want to re-write.  If you don't have someone who can do that, a tool I've found helpful is a free downloadable text-to-speech software called Ultra HALC/NET rated the free version pretty well.

So remember, write, read, re-write, read again, and

Write On.


  1. I just used the Text-to-speech technique and found so many awkward little things I wouldn't have found myself.

    About the beta reading, I completely agree with you. It's supposed to be more for content, but I can't pay attention to the content if I'm constantly resisting the urge to red pen everything I see.

  2. Nice post! It never hurts to be reminded over and over about the necessity of doing all of the important things correctly!