Daily Archives: June 28, 2010

Crit Buddies: the Happy Meal of Writing

This past week/end was a blast.  DH had been scheduled for his yearly golf tourney up in Brainerd, but injured his neck and stayed behind.  Unlike his normal, workaholic self, he actually remained home on his already scheduled days off.  It was great to have him around and we got some odds and ends done.  Lots of relaxing too.

Middle son’s relay team placed 5th (out of 5) at the state track meet on Saturday.  He was so excited to stand on the podium to receive his award.  Eldest marched for band, while our Dear Daughter and Youngest walked the parade.  DD turned 14 and celebrated in style, while DH and I apparently adopted three teenaged children. 

All our kids are highly social, which means a lot of hosting.  Our food count for the weekend looked something like this:

  • 16 hamburgers
  • 36 cans of various drinks
  • 24 water bottles
  • 8 hotdogs
  • 2 brats
  • 3 large pizzas
  • 4 boxes of cereal
  • 1 butter braid
  • 1 angel food birthday cake
  • bags and bags of chips
  • bags and bags of veggies
  • cantelope, pasta salad & other filler foods too numerous to count

Oh, yeah.  And one Mc Donald’s run for Youngest.

“Dad, please take me to Mc Donalds.  I want a cheeseburger with only ketchup.”

“I’ll make you one.”

Youngest is stubborn and knows how to hold his ground.  After much finagling, the truth comes out. 

“Dad, your hamburgers are just a teensy, weensy bit…not as good,” Youngest says and holds his fingers together so they almost touch.  He smiles real big, trying for damage control.  “Everybody likes your hamburgers.  Grant and Davis.  Connor does and Lexi and Tyson.  Mom…”

Youngest ticks off names, his little eyes looking directly into DH’s.  He loves his Daddy and doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.  “To them, your hamburgers are good.  To me…not so much.”

This refreshing honesty is exactly what I look for in a critique partner.  I love the truth.  It’s the only thing that helps me grow as a writer. 

Thankfully, I have a group of critters that gives me what I need.  Two are outstanding Beta Readers.  Another is my Comma Queen.  She makes last minute polishing a dream.  And just recently, I hooked up with another Minnesota writer who has proven to be an outstanding critiquer.  He’s young (by my ancient standards) and has a fresh perspecive.  He’s also not afraid to tell it like it is.

“Everything sounded really good up to here.  This part just doesn’t work for me.  Flesh it out.  Give more detail.  This sounds off.”

I love it.  My critters are the best Happy Meal around.

Is it important to have a well-rounded critique group, or is that akin to too many cooks at the fry basket?  Which type of reader is the hardest to find?  Which ones are the most valuable to you, and why?   

Now let’s go get a hamburger!