Brainstorming and Crit Groups

So my friend Rose Cooper blogged about revisions today. You should definately visit her blog.

But anyway, she got me thinking about revisions and brainstorming and how important it is to have a crit group.

Recently I've been working on a revision which included the addition of a secondary plot/ twist. I felt as though I had two options. If I only had myself to bounce these options off of, it would have sounded like this:

Me: So, I'm thinking. For this MS, the MC can have choice A or choice B. Choice A has this going for it, but it has these negatives. Choice B has just as many pluses and negatives. Which do you think I should go with?

Self: Sounds good.

Say what?

Do you see why you can't ask yourself? First of all you'll either get confused or just agree with yourself. Second of all, I didn't ask if it sounded good. I needed a selection. But I didn't want to have to choose, so I just avoided it altogether.

Now when I asked my crit group there were dozens of lenghty emails back and forth (which I won't post here because you'd be reading this blog post for a week - and i'm sure that wouldn't make you a happy camper). Anyway, the conversations led to more questions and more thinking. Ultimately those additional questions led me to my final answer. Choice B.

So, like I've said before. Get a crit group. They're there for more than just critiquing a manuscript. They're great for brainstorming, plotting and support!


My old crit group didn't do that. Most because we already had finished ms when I formed the group. And when we started critting again (pretty much at the same time) for the next book, those novels were already finished as well.

I do have a writer friend with whom I bounce ideas off of. That helps a lot.
Angie said…
That's great that your group can do that for you. I'm not sure I could bounce ideas off others like that. I don't like to talk about my ideas until the story is finished.
Colene Murphy said…
My old group was good, full of amazing people and authors but we didn't connect with writing styles and genres and eventually it just didn't work out.

But the importance of other opinions is soooo great! I'm facing one of those crossroads myself.

Sounds like you have a good bunch behind you!
My group are awesome with brainstorming/plotting. Sometimes it can help clear things in your mind the way to go just by talking it through. :)

Glad you have a great bunch to help you as well.
Dawn said…
I LOVE my crit partner ;-)
Thanks for stopping by the blog today. I agree, your hubby Ben is very muse worthy!
Anonymous said…
It's definitely important to have people to bounce ideas off of! ;)
Casey said…
I expect to hear about this Epic Choice tomorrow. So be ready for more awesome ideas. Yup. xD
DL Hammons said…
Amen! My critique group has been invaluable and has improved my manuscript dramatically!! :)
Anonymous said…
Well stated. I don't know how anyone can write a quality piece of fiction without a crit partner. Although, I'm sure some can. Not me.
Teenage Bride said…
Hey there! Just stopping in to say hello. I lvoe your blog design!!

Rose is pretty awesome isn't she!

Have a great day <3
Sara B. Larson said…
THat's great that you have a group you can work with like that. Good luck with idea B! :)
Anonymous said…
Yeah, the closer I get to completing this current draft of my WIP the more I'm thinking I need a crit group. I think after this I'll be to the point where I can't make it any better on my own, but I've avoided trying to get a group or join anyone b/c when it comes time for me to offer advice I don't think I'll have anything truly valuable to give back. I'm much better at identifying weaknesses in my own MS.
Rose Cooper said…
Great post! I'm so happy to have you as a part of NI and I couldn't be any happier with that crit group. After 5 or 6 years, we're still going strong! Even though it's harder when I have deadlines, I couldn't imagine NOT having the crit group.

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