The first rule of CritClub is you don’t talk about CritClub.

A member of my critique group wrote a story that is appearing this month in what I would call an A-List pro market. He shared the story with the group last year (who says the publishing world is slow?) and I am curious to see what preceded the final published version.

Last night, I went on one of my Friday night bookshop raids and grabbed up a copy of the final product. This morning I dug up the copy he submitted to the group and 28 pages of the group’s comments.

My plan for the weekend is to read the pre-crit version, write a critique of my own, read the other critiques, come up with a list of the best suggestions and, finally, see how the published version compares.

  • Was the pre-crit version better than the other stories I have seen come up in the queue?
  • Was it better than what I have ready to put in the queue?
  • Did the previous critiques hit on the soft spots?
  • Do I agree? Did the other critiques agree?
  • What were the changes that made the difference?

This should be interesting.

… time passes … pages are read … notes are scribbled … comparisons are made …

Well, it wasn’t particularly interesting at all. There were precious few changes made to the pre-crit version. Most of the critiques were sciencey and didn’t tell me much at all, other than there are some folks reading hard sci-fi (not a favourite genre for me) that take details of the science very seriously. There were a few structural suggestions about moving one portion of the story to an earlier point (which I had in my own notes) or even starting the story with it (which I did not, the existing opening was structurally solid).

Well, I did learn something from comparing other people’s critiques to my own, so it was not a total waste. In another few hours, I will be able to read everybody else’s critiques from last week and compare to the three that I did.

That might be interesting.

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