One of the greatest problems we writers have when it comes to reading our own work is that we have no perspective. Perspective can come when you have put a manuscript away in a drawer for several years, but you want to send your masterpiece to agents and publishers yesterday, you don’t have time to gain perspective by ignoring your work for several years. This is where I come in. As a manuscript assessor, I am able to read a manuscript and tell you about its strengths and weaknesses. I know you don’t want to admit that it has weaknesses, but in your heart of hearts you know they are there, you just hope they are not too obvious.
I am the person who can pick that a character changed hair colour halfway through the book, I will be able to see those bits of back story that you so cunningly back ended into the opening of the story and hoped if you did it fast enough the reader won’t notice. For future reference, she notices. If you think I am being overly critical, take heart, for I am also the person, who will see that your dialogue sparkles with wit, or that your description is immersive, or your plot gripped me to the end.
I am the person who can give you the feedback you have been bugging your friends for as you gave them the tenth draft of a scene and asked them to compare between them all for strengths and weaknesses and all they said was it was ‘good’ or ‘they liked it’ or ‘I don’t like it’ but not why. I am the person who can tell you why. I can tell you exactly what does and does not work for me a reader. Sometimes these things can be things you swore you put into your work, but which remained in your head and never made it onto the page.
So that is what a critical friend does, over the next weeks and months I will be posting more writing info, tips, tricks and book you really must read to help you on your writing journey.