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Thread: 2nd Draft Critique Service (Writer's Digest)

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    2nd Draft Critique Service (Writer's Digest)

    Anyone used this thing? Basically you can pay a "professional critiquer" $3 or $4 per page to critique your book, min. 50 pages. Anyone use it? How useful was it? Was it a waste of money or was your critiquer very insightful?

    Thanks,
    Seth
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  2. #2
    rewriting. spamwarrior's Avatar
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    I think it would be cheaper to get a beta reader. It sounds quite expensive.
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  3. #3
    Megalops Erectus Silver King's Avatar
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    Moved this one from Office Party so the good folks here can offer some advice.

  4. #4
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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  5. #5
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Adding another link:
    http://www.writersdigestshop.com/pro...featprod050710

    A friend of mine asked me what I thought about this. I came here to see if there was a thread. Unfortunately, there's not much here.

    My thoughts:

    1) $3-$4 a page sounds steep for a critique from anonymous "hand-selected-professional critiquers". They may or may not be industry professionals. True industry professionals are most likely working in the industry, not critiquing for Writers Digest. At the very least, I'd want to know who is critiquing me and what their qualifications are.

    2) Editorial opinions differ. I've been given diametrically opposed advice from actual editors. How do I know that this "professional critiquer" isn't giving me the wrong advice for a specific editor? I can't. The only one who can give me that is the editor him or herself, and he or she will do it for free (assuming it's good enough for them to bother with).

    3) Which brings me to the next point, which is that if the manuscript isn't good enough to interest an editor enough to give specific suggestions, then my manuscript probably has more problems than a single critique can fix. Rewriting is an interative process of write-critique-write-critique... Therefore, I can probably get general advice that's just as good as 2nd Draft from a critique group or a beta reader.

    4) It's a violation of Yog's Law. Money is flowing away from the writer.

    5) On one level, it sounds logical that a writer should pay for the services of someone more experienced. But you can gain a lot of experience and advice all for free just by networking...here at AW, for instance. I've spent money on writer's conferences and workshops over the years, and I have to say that the advice I've read here has been just as sound, and in many cases more sound. Advice given from people I know and trust like Jim Macdonald and Victoria Strauss.

    I think as a service, it's probably legitimate and you'll also probably get some value out of it. But I think you can get advice just as good without paying for it.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  6. #6
    banned as an incurable tosspot
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    I agree. Check out the beta list and find a couple of people interested in your genre. I've found them to be excellent and very generous in their feedback.

  7. #7
    Moderator In Name Only AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    An additional thought, not about 2nd Draft in particular, but about critique services in general:

    While a paid critique may in some cases be useful, in many others (perhaps a majority) of cases, it's used as a method of short-circuiting the process that makes someone a writer.

    If someone else tells you how to "fix" your manuscript, then at some level the writing is no longer yours. At least part of it is theirs. There is value to struggling with your writing because when you solve a problem, it's really you doing it.

    I think there is value in having someone tell you what they think is wrong with a story. Telling you how to fix a story is less useful, imo. When someone tells you there's something wrong with your story, they're almost always right. When someone tells you how to fix your story, they're almost always wrong. Because they're telling you how they would fix your story, not how you would fix your story. Finding your own solutions is what makes you a writer.

    The above is not true, however, if the person giving the critique is an aquiring editor. If an editor says "fix it this way and I'll buy it", that's how I'd fix it.
    --Roger J. Carlson

  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW
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    If you need that much guidance, I would take a semesterlong writing workshop instead. You'll get more out of it. If it's just a matter of getting a feel for the public response to your manuscript and/or getting some feedback, then you're better off with beta readers. Good beta readers.

  9. #9
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    Has Anyone Used Writer's Digest Critique Service?

    I've had probably 40 people read part or all of my book, giving suggestions here and there ranging from useless to very helpful. I've also paid to have two reviewers professional critique it. I've made substantial changes since I sent it to Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and now I'm thinking of shelling out $4 a page to send it to Writer's Digest for their Second Draft Developmental Edit. http://www.writersdigestshop.com/2nd...ddraftdevnotes.

    Has anyone used this service? It's going to cost me $1600, so I am hesitant, however I want to make sure my book is ready before I start sending it out. I want to give myself every advantage I can, but I also don't want to sucker myself needlessly.

  10. #10
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    To the OP: Did you end up using this service? I am considering it.

  11. #11
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Railroad, see post #5 and #7 in this thread. $1600 is a lot to spend on a mms that has already cost you a fair amount of time and money. The WD service may or may not be worth it. I don't know - I haven't given WD any cash for 20 years. If this many readers and critics have looked at your book already, you may need to push yourself into action. That can mean submitting it to a publisher, or shelving it until you can look at it objectively.

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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by railroad View Post
    I've had probably 40 people read part or all of my book, giving suggestions here and there ranging from useless to very helpful. I've also paid to have two reviewers professional critique it. I've made substantial changes since I sent it to Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, and now I'm thinking of shelling out $4 a page to send it to Writer's Digest for their Second Draft Developmental Edit. http://www.writersdigestshop.com/2nd...ddraftdevnotes.

    Has anyone used this service? It's going to cost me $1600, so I am hesitant, however I want to make sure my book is ready before I start sending it out. I want to give myself every advantage I can, but I also don't want to sucker myself needlessly.
    Hmmm I thought I had started my own thread, but now it ended up here?

  13. #13
    On a small world west of wonder LindaJeanne's Avatar
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    A mod will have merged it with the existing thread . One thread per service/publisher/agent/whatever being asked about.
    "A story told, that can't be real / yet somehow must reflect the truth we feel..." -- Black Sabbath / Ronnie James Dio

  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    Oh okay, I thought I was losing my mind.

  15. #15
    Mildly Disturbing Filigree's Avatar
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    Nope. This is just a tidy way to keep in one place all the available information about each publisher.

    Once you reach 50 posts, you might try posting the first chapter on the Share Your Work section of AW. You can at least get a fresh baseline.

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  16. #16
    deep blue electric angel Susan Anwin's Avatar
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    Writer's Digest editorial services {merged into BR&BC thread)

    Has anyone tried them? Impressions? Should I try them?

  17. #17
    practical experience, FTW
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    Susan, did you try them and if so, what did you think?

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW TerryRodgers's Avatar
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    It's been almost a year, Railroad. You are still considering this route after the advice given here? Is this the only novel you have worked on? More than a year of editing seems like you would be better off taking everything you learn during the critiquing and editing of the first novel and put it to work in the second novel.
    Best Regards,

    Terry Rodgers

  19. #19
    practical experience, FTW
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    Thanks for your opinion.
    It's my first novel, and I've made some mistakes with it, and I'm trying to salvage it. I've made a lot of changes and want to see if I'm headed in the right direction.
    We all have a different approach to writing, editing, and moving on.

  20. #20
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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