If you are a writer, one of the first things you will discover is that it is easy to find people willing to tell you your writing is awesome. You pass your work out to friends and family and all you receive back are glowing reviews and pats on the back. Now tell me, how helpful is that really? If everything is great, how can you improve? The hard truth is although nice things are great to hear, they don’t help you in the long run.
What you need is someone who can be open and honest with you about both the good and the bad in your work. You need a critique buddy. You can find a buddy almost anywhere. You can enlist someone you already know, perhaps a friend you feel you work well with. Or you can find a fellow writer in a writer’s group. Both options work as long as the person has a few important attributes. They must be honest, constructive, and unattached.
For a person, whether a friend or someone you’ve met at a writers group, to make a good critique buddy they have to be willing to dish out bad news. Ask yourself this: Would they let you walk out of the house looking like a hot mess because they are too nice to say anything, or would they tell you that you can’t pull off that outfit and need to change? I relate it to appearance because it is something just a personal to us as our writing. It’s hard to tell people you don’t like something they’ve done because it is a sensitive subject.
But you need to go beyond finding someone who will be honest. You need someone who is also constructive. If they tell you that your outfit is terrible, do they give you suggestions on a better option or leave you hanging not knowing which direction to go in. A good critique buddy will not only tell you when they don’t like something but will point out specifics and offer a different suggestion. For example instead of saying “I don’t like the main character,” a good buddy would say “I don’t like the way the main character talks down to her best friend. Why would they be friends if they didn’t get along? Maybe you can change some of the dialog.” Do you see the difference?
The last trait I think a good critique buddy needs is one most people don’t think of: they need to be unattached. I don’t mean they shouldn’t care. What I do mean is that they should realize this project is not theirs and be okay with that. No matter how much input they give you, in the end it is up to you as to what you incorporate or change. If you think the person might be offended when you don’t take their suggestions or be upset that the project didn’t turn out the way they envisioned it, that person might not be the best critique buddy.
It is a delicate balance to find just the right person to help you through your writing process. But the right critique buddy can really elevate your work in a way you couldn’t have on your own. So choose wisely!
For Onyx Bay, what started as a cathartic ink session takes an unexpected turn when a specialized blood test at the tattoo parlor reveals her true identity, which threatens to turn her entire world upside down.
When Onyx learns that she is the descendant of a fantastical race of creatures who control the global elements, she discovers that her own blood makes her a valuable prize for competing forces, known as the Orders. As the truth about her bloodline spreads, she finds herself at the center of a supernatural bounty hunt pursued by both human and creature members of the Orders willing to do anything to claim her as their own. The hunt intensifies when a prophet foresees she will tip the balance of power and upset the peace among the Orders. As she attempts to evade capture and survive, Onyx is forced to choose between her humanistic past and a supernatural destiny in order to take control of her own future.
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Genre - Urban Fantasy
Rating – PG - 13
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