After I finished geeking out about the snow, I took some time on Sunday (during the Oscars) to rework the beginning of my WIP based on the comments from my crit group. I attended my first critique group last week and it was a very informative and rewarding process. I was so excited to share my pages with new people. The feedback was very positive overall, and I was beyond thrilled with that!! I couldn't believe they liked my character, liked the story I introduced, and were eager to hear more. OMG, they liked it! I also learned A LOT about how to make my pages stronger. Here are some of the main critiques my group had:
- Weave description into the action. Instead of saying "I was wearing this, this and this," say "I smoothed my sage green skirt" or "His clear blue eyes bore into mine."
- Describe more what the main character is thinking. This was a great one because as I'm writing, I already know what Maggie is thinking because I'm in her head. But the reader doesn't. Plus, my scenes were really short and I was struggling with how to make it longer and more interesting. Adding what Maggie thinks about what's happening is important for the reader to understand her character.
- Cut out action that slows down the movement of the story. Maggie is a florist. One of the first scenes is her setting up for a wedding. When I was writing, it felt weird to skip over her florist duties and skip to the more exciting part. But, as my crit group suggested, I can weave in more interesting details and what she's thinking into those more mundane actions to make it more interesting. Or, just cut them out all together. If it doesn't add to the story, take it out.
- Add a bit more backstory to help introduce the character. One of the first things I read on blogs was "Don't fill your first chapter with backstory," so I tried to avoid as much backstory as possible. I guess I left out too much :).
A couple of writers have told me that if there are scenes I know I want in the story, then I should write those first and come back to the other parts later. Does that process work for you? How do you work to fill plot holes? I don't want to rely too much on other people for ideas because it's my story, after all. Do you work through plot problems on your own or bounce ideas off your friends?
Thanks for reading!!