Sunday, September 25, 2011
The Difference Between Reading and Critiquing
When I read a published book, I relax and accept the story for what it is in its finished form. I may make judgments if I find something I'd change if it were up to me, but I don't dwell on any perceived glitches. I take the story as a whole and let it wash over me like a summer sun. *sigh* Reading good fiction is my happy place.
When I critique, a whole different mindset colors the reading. I'm looking diligently, not for mistakes to correct, per se, but for any possible way the story can be made better, stronger, more realistic, more moving.
This is why I could tear through SHIFTING by Bethany Wiggins in two nights of feverish reading, and yet it takes me weeks to months to critique a friend's unpublished MS.
I can't change the published novel. I can't change my buddy's MS either, but I can make suggestions that might influence the finished project. I love being part of that process.
But it's definitely a slower process for me than reading published works, if only because I'm invested in its success. I don't want to do a half-baked job. I sincerely want to see the amazing stories my CP's write end up on bookshelves everywhere.
I should probably ease up a little, take some of the pressure off myself. After all, it's hubris to think I could make or break someone else's book. I know I can't. Yet the difference between these two types of reading remains striking for me.
Do you critique as fast as you read, or is it a longer labor for you, too?
I lucked out and got to read an advanced reader copy this weekend!!
Please check out my Afterglow lovefest review for SHIFTING by this phenomenal debut novelist, Bethany Wiggins. And get your hands on a copy if you can (comes out this Tuesday!). You won't be sorry.