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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An Altogether Different Kind of Critique Partner



I've acquired an unexpected fiction crit partner: my husband Rob.

For the record, Rob is an outdoorsy-hiking-hunting-fishing kind of man's man. Thanks to his busy medical practice, he doesn't do a lot of pleasure reading. The standing joke is that he reads one novel a year--usually by staying up way-too late for a few nights.

And, until I wandered over to the Dark Side and started writing fiction, Rob had never, ever read a romance.

One day as I labored over my hero's point of view (POV), I decided to get a man's perspective. I knew how I thought the guy should act, what he should say. But what would a real guy think about what I wrote?

So I asked Rob to peruse my chapter and tell me what he thought.

Amazing man that is he, Rob didn't hesitate to plunge into romantic fiction, conflict, dialogue and POV.

Despite spending most of his time immersed in medical journals and patient charts, my husband has a good eye for fiction.

He doesn't hesitate to let me know when my hero isn't walking or talking like a guy.
After telling me where my dialogue is off--maybe even after he's recommended a change in body language--Rob suggests other changes too. He'll tamper with my plot, suggesting a "Why not try this?" turn of events.

And you know what? He has some good ideas!

It's gotten to the point where I run most scenes involving my hero by Rob. Hey, if my guy doesn't think the man in my novel is believable, why should anyone else?
Most writers know the value of a good critique group. Most crit groups are made up of other writers because, after all, we know the craft.

But I've learned a valuable lesson. Sometimes the best feedback comes from those outside the writing world--people living in the real world who can give me a real-life perspective on writing fiction.

1 comment:

Scoti Domeij, Director, Springs Writers said...

I'm constantly amazed by your relationship with Rob. I think this is a fun way for writers to connect with their spouses.