Kristin Nelson (of Nelson Literary) had an interesting post yesterday regarding critique workshops and voice.
She had a conversation with a colleague who was of the opinion that newish writers can have the voice in their manuscripts stripped by critiques. She encourages writers to rediscover that voice. While I'm all for critique partners and workshops, I can see her point.
In some critique sessions, mechanical mistakes are highlighted, to the point that a writer rearranges sentences, deletes phrases, and stops being…them. Quirky writing that might appeal to people for its originality can be suppressed for the sake of writing correctly and by the rules.
I understand the other side as well. When you’re offering feedback, it’s often easy to point out grammar issues, sentence structure, or places that seem flat. Those are concrete things that can improve a manuscript. It feels like a productive way to offer advice. Giving the writer specific things to work on is great!
But it can lead to the writer concentrating so much on getting those mechanics down that they lose a bit of heart. Of soul. Of voice.
Do you ever feel like when you alter your manuscript to make it technically appealing, you lose some of that voice?
Like everything else in life, it’s a matter of practice and balance. Do NOT stop getting critiques! It’s the only way we can improve and learn and thrive. This may seem like a solitary business, but it’s really not. You’ve got help and support all around you.
Click the link to read Kristin’s post: Critique Workshopped The Voice Right Out Of There
On another note, Louise Fury of Lori Perkins Agency tweeted this a few days ago:
CALL FOR MANUSCRIPTS: Im looking for YA contemporary thrillers in the same vein as I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER
Have a great weekend!