Select one of the keywords
Becoming Your Own Critique Partner    by Janet Lane Walters & Jane Toombs order for
Becoming Your Own Critique Partner
by Janet Lane Walters
Order:  USA  Can
Zumaya, 2006 (2006)
* * *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Collectively, Walters and Toombs have written dozens of novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction pieces, and have judged many writing contests. They also ghost write and participate in critique groups. Their expertise has been well received by the writers they've mentored and in workshops they've presented over the years. But as the authors point out, not every writer has access to workshops or a critique partner or group. That's where Becoming Your Own Critique Partner comes in. Walters and Toombs explain that their book 'is designed to help you find the flaws in your manuscript and correct them. The areas where less than sharp images can cause a rejection will be illustrated by examples of the wrong and the right ways and a discussion of the various stumbling points to keep you from being led astray. It will show you where your areas of excellence are. Checklists and exercises will aid in eliminating flaws and help to improve your writing'.

Rather than presenting a long series of narratives explaining the goal of their book or overanalyzing common and obvious flaws many writers make, the authors get right into the heart of the matter by providing generous examples that show how to find and revise flaws in your manuscript. Here are some of the points covered: showing vs. telling, proper pacing, why point of view is important, strengthening dialogue, character motivation, building up to the black moment, evaluating scenes, avoiding adverbs, using all five senses effectively, ways to plug holes in the plot, trimming the fat, avoiding clichés, controlling information overload, how to weave in the setting, establishing mood and atmosphere, using theme to solidify your plot, and ensuring that your story is emotionally involving. Each chapter also offers a checklist for review, as well as a generous series of in-depth exercises. Working through each of them will add more substance and clarity to the information presented.

There is certainly no shortage of how to books covering the writing craft - ask any serious writer and they'll likely offer up a title or two that inspired them or helped turn their writing around and led to publishing success. Becoming Your Own Critique Partner may well find a dominant place on your reference shelf. Its simple and straightforward format provides many of the tools needed to help you finish that first draft and polish it for an editor's or agent's attention.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more NonFiction books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews