Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Critiquing is Like Gaming

You guys have critique partners, right? If they're good (and brutally honest), it's likely you'll experience a wide range of emotions during the process. Maybe it'll be like this:


You start off raring to go.
Infinite opportunity lies before you in the land of Agentopia, but you have to tame that beast of a manuscript to get there. With a little help from your closest ally (critique partner), you just might make it.
You begin your journey overly confident.
As you wander in what you assume to be the right, general direction, your ally warns that your pacing might be off. You feel a little defensive about your strides, but adjust anyway.

You brought her along for a reason, after all.

Later, you start to veer off the beaten path, and she grabs you by the arm. Why? Because the way to Agentopia isn't through valleys or over grassy knolls. You have to stay on track, or you'll never get there.
Time goes by without incident, and you start to relax. You take a deep breath, look up at the sky, and

Fall into a plot hole.
It's a big setback, but after a few hours in the dark, you manage to claw your way back. Your ally offers you a hand up, shaking her head. "You weren't listening, were you?"
You come to a fork in the road.

You start to head left, but your ally cuts you off. "Sorry, but I think you're headed in the wrong direction."

Wrong direction? You? But you've been planning this journey for months, maybe even years. Why did you trust her with that map, anyway? Grumbling, you head right against your better judgment, just to see how it turns out.

Luckily for you, she was right.

You're almost to Agentopia, and you're getting pretty cagey. Maybe it's time to track that manuscript down, once and for all.

It'll be tamed, or you'll die trying.
Using everything you learned along the waymore things than I could ever possibly list hereyou find the manuscript and take on the fight of your life. It's long and grueling, but you know what? You emerge victorious.

The manuscript really was able to be tamed, after all.
You thank your ally, take to the skies, and head straight for the gates of Agentopia.

Now to get past those gatekeepers...
There you have it! A silly little post to start your week. I hope you're all well and making great progress on your stories. For the record, this wasn't a recount of my experiences with critique partners. *grins* I ♥ my critters to death, and they're some of the most awesome people I know. They've yet to deliver a blow I haven't recovered from. (And that's not a challenge, guys! *ducks*)

Have a great week!
Illustrative screenshots feature my Aion assassin. If you're going to geek out, you might as well do it right.

P.S. Rachel Bean tagged me, and I know you guys aren't ready to hear ten more facts about me yet, so I'm going to do something different. Ask anything you want in the comments, and I will answer as best I can.

P.P.S. It's not too late to enter the blog button/sticker giveaway. You have until the end of the month. Oh, and if none of this makes sense, it's because I wrote it at 3:25 AM. Mmm, idle musings of the sleepless mind. ;) Later


Laila Knight said...

You are real sweet. And I love Agentopia. And critique partners are awesome. Okay, I'll ask a question. How come you don't leave your hair it's natural color? You mentioned you were blonde. Usually brunettes go blonde...except me. My hair turns orange. :)

April said...

Haha! That was great! I'm not much of a gamer (okay, I'm NOT a gamer), but that made complete sense, and the timing couldn't be better since I've just joined a writer's group! I don't go to my first meeting until October 4, but still...Great post!

Peggy Eddleman said...

That was AWESOME. It's all about the taming.

P.S. I left you an award on my blog. You were looking for more tags, right? :)

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm spending the next 10 days prepping my WIP for its trip to visit my critique partner. Keith and I have been swamping WIPs first crits since 1997. Nobody sees my ms until his keen eyes have gone over it. Wouldn't have it any other way.

I also belong to a writer's group, and at this precise moment I vow to critique new writers more next year. I didn't do any this year because of the launch of my new book. But I'll make up for it next year. It'll take forever to catch up with all the critters that helped me along the way.

Happy new week, Carrie.

Lisa Regan said...

Hah hah, that's awesome. So true.

Kristine said...

I love this analogy!

Iain said...

Thank you. You made me smile. This was a great post :o)

Unknown said...

Fantastic post. Accurate and fun take on what writing a manuscript is truly like!

Becky Wallace said...

Totally loved that you called them critters! I want to be a critter!

Sally said...

Wow this post had scarily good timing! I just finished re-writing the chapter of a story because a friend dealt the blow telling me I went wrong with how I had written it previously. I tend to be really prideful and stubborn, and with my writing...Ha! I had never before done it anyway other than by myself. So I can totally identify with the part of 'Me? Going on the wrong path! Impossible!' Haha but I did listen to my friend, swallowed my pride and not only produced a much better work...But learned the valuable lesson of getting and listening to critique.

Great post as ever! You really struck a chord with this one!xD

And since you gave me permission to ask questions hehe...Are you picky about who reads your work? Because I know that I'm very uptight about letting people I know read my stories (though I have no problem with strangers xD), and only now did I even start letting -anyone- read unfinished stuff. Is that how it is for you or are you more open about your writing?

Unknown said...

I don't play a lot of games but I do love how you related critiquing to it. It's true, I've felt all the emotions you talked about. said...

I also am not into games but I have children who are so it's easy to follow your logic. Nice post.

Donna K. Weaver said...

I love this analogy. As a gamer, I can totally relate!

Lydia Kang said...

I love your metaphor. It makes total sense!

Melodie Wright said...

Oh, Agentopia! You have a built in audience right here. line of work ($$)?

Unknown said...

Haha oh man this is great! Never thought of this before, now I have a way to make my husband understand the critiquing process.

Carrie Butler said...

@Laila - Thank you! Hah! Well, I kept my natural (blonde) color until college, when my sister and I thought it would be fun to experiment with highlights. I ended up with this bleached lightning bolt through my hair and had to get it fixed at a salon. After that, it became a fun way to reinvent myself every now and then. :)

@April - Thank you! I'm glad. :D Oh, that's fantastic! Good luck!

@Peggy - Thanks! Hah! Oh, you know it. ;)

@Joylene - Wow! That's quite the writing relationship. I'm really impressed. (Honestly, I hope to have connections like that someday.) Good luck with that vow! It's admirable.

You too! :)

@Lisa - Thanks! (I'm working. I swear, I'm working! *grins*)

@Kristine - Why thank you, and thanks for stopping by. :D

@Iain - Awesome! Thank you very much! :)

@Trisha - Thank you! :D

(...And thanks for never leaving me in one of those holes! *grins*)

@Becky - Thanks! :) You know, I sat here for five minutes, trying to decipher your comment. I was like, "Hah! Saying critter is so fun. Oh, wait. Does she want to be my critter? She could be talking in general terms. Hmm, she could even be referring to the cute, fluffy variety of critters..." I kid you not. That was my thought process. lol I apologize for this failure of a reply!

@Sally - Really? Hah! Wow. I think you're right. This post couldn't have had better timing, if it tried. ;) I'm so glad you learned the lesson of listening to critique. (It's a toughie, isn't it? We've all been there.)

Oh, absolutely! I'm the same way. I mean, I'm all for sharing my work with my writing friends around the blogosphere, AW, etc. but people I know? Ouch. That leaves me a little more vulnerable.

Thanks! :)

@Clarissa - Why thank you! :)

@Bridget - I'm glad! Thank you! :D

@Donna - Really? That's awesome! Thank you so much!

Oh, and I have to ask. What kinds of games do you play? :)

@Lydia - Thanks! I hope your week is going well! :)

@Melodia - Hah! Oh, that would be fantastic! *grins* Thanks for dropping by! :D

@Caitlin - Thanks! Hah! Yes! :D

LMF said...

Love this!! It's so true! So are you a World of Warcrafts girl? I have to ask b/c I used to be obsessed :P lol

Tina Moss said...

Stopping by the blog today to say that I've given you the Versatile Blogger award. I know this award has been around awhile and you may have received it already, but if not, come and claim it here:

Thanks for all you do in the blog-o-sphere! :)

Kelley York said...

Flawless post. ;) And oh-so-true.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Being a gamer, this post gave me a giggle. And so true!

Carrie Butler said...

@LMF - Hah! Sadly, no. WoW never did much for me. I'm more of an Aion, Guild Wars, Vindictus, etc. girl. Welcome, and thanks for commenting! :)

@Tina - Why thank you! I really appreciate that! :D

@Kelley - Thank you very much! :)

@Lynda - *grins* Thank you! I'm glad! I never knew you were a gamer. That's fantastic! What kinds of games do you play?

linda said...

Haha, this is great! And so cool that you have awesome crit partners. :) I am soooo far away from that stage, but it does sound both exciting and nerve-wracking!

Carrie Butler said...

@Linda - Thanks! :) Yes, I think exciting and nerve-wracking describe it perfectly. You'll be there sooner than you think! ;)

Anonymous said...

I love this! Although it makes me want to play WoW more than it makes me want to write ;)

Tiburon said...

The dreaded critical hit! I love this analogy! Who says you can't learn life lessons from gaming...

Carrie Butler said...

@Rebecca - Hah! Well, WoW could be your writing reward/incentive. *grins* Thank you!

@Tiburon - Why thank you, Sharkie! :)