Peer Review and Why You Need It

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First off…check it out! It’s the cover for ‘Mark of the Successor’!!!!!!!!!!! I’m absolutely in love with it, if you couldn’t tell. LOL

I was talking with the lovely Pam Stack from Authors on the Air (check out her show here – http://authorsontheair.com/) and the subject of peer review came up. It’s a worthy topic, one that I decided to talk about today.

I’ve met and read a few authors who, for whatever reason, didn’t get a peer review of their manuscript before releasing it to the world. In my opinion, that is one of the WORST decisions any writer can make.

No one writes the perfect story in a first draft. You need to let fresh eyes read it, and use their honest feedback to improve your writing. Not just in this one story, but overall. Once mistakes are pointed out to us, we try not to repeat them. I’m not always successful at that. Which is one reason I send my stories off to be critiqued by some wonderful fellow writers each time.

What may make sense to you may not to a reader. Logic jumps only work if they make sense. If you create a character who abhors violence and weapons, they should shy away from using them. Readers are going to pick up on that, and shake their head when that person is an expert marksman later in the story.

One of my bad habits in first drafts is overusing a single word or phrase. I just don’t see it when I’m writing. My crit partners do, however, and call me on it.

Revisions are part of the job. Editors will be assigned to you at your publisher, yes. But they are not there to rewrite your story for you. Find yourself someone you trust to give you an honest opinion before you send it off. Don’t go with someone who is going to praise your work and not give a single suggestion. That’s only going to help your ego, not your writing. You want someone (or several of them) who is not afraid to tell you, “Hey, take this out. We already know they’re fighting dwarves from the previous sentence”.

Some of the benefits of peer review? Not having your m/s rejected because of huge spelling errors or repetitive phrasing. Having a writing style that editors want to read because they don’t feel like they’re having to lead you by the nose to get things presentable. Increasing your reader loyalty for putting a quality story out there.

In other news, I’ve got an interview this week! That’s right, you all get a bonus post from me. Expect it to go live on Wednesday the 24th…should be great fun!

BB

2 thoughts on “Peer Review and Why You Need It

  1. Pingback: Peer Review and Why You May Not Need It | Writings From The Fruit Cellar

  2. I agree. Nothing beats having a fresh set of eyes look at your work. Before releasing my last book I had four different people read it and the feedback was invaluable. They caught errors I just wouldn’t have found.

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