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Jack Mariani
01-06-2007, 09:41 PM
I'm relatively new to this site (which I love by the way!) and may not be up on all of its feautures; but it seems to me that with mystery, as with all genres, a certain amount of familiarity is helpful when offereing critiques. For instance, I will not venture out of the mystery genre to critique say, a romance or sci-fi novel, since I am not familiar with the conventions of the genre or the requirements of the market.

I would be interested in identifying a group of "go to" mystery critters to whom writers of the genre could turn for advice and/or comment.

The "share your work" section of this site is great, and I have personally benefitted from the advice of a number of generous critters, but being able to turn to specialized writers/editors might provide added value.

Your thoughts?

DeadlyAccurate
01-07-2007, 12:18 AM
Probably the best way to ID them would be to look at who is submitting to the Mystery SYW forum and use that to take into account their critique of your work. But, don't discount the works of those who don't write in your genre or whose skills are not quite at your level, either. They may still have plenty of good advice.

Also, you could check out www.critiquecircle.com. They have a Thriller/Mystery/Suspense queue.

You're not likely to get many editors to look at your stuff. They get paid for it; why would they do it for free?

Jack Mariani
01-07-2007, 12:24 AM
Thanks for the URL; I will check this out!

Maryn
01-19-2007, 11:42 PM
I agree with DeadlyAccurate (I'd be a fool not to!) and with you, Jack, about getting the best critique from people who write in that genre. I wouldn't presume myself competent to critique a genre I didn't even read extensively, except for covering writing basics.

Nice to have you here. I need to come to M/S/T more often, don'tcha think?

Maryn, whose thriller lies abandoned but not forgotten

Linda Adams
01-20-2007, 04:53 PM
But, don't discount the works of those who don't write in your genre or whose skills are not quite at your level, either. They may still have plenty of good advice.



Good point. One of our very first critiques of the entire manuscript, a thriller, came from a published romance writer. Despite the fact she was published, she didn't understand thriller, and many of her comments reflected that. As a result of that, we made our critique group genre specific.

Critters outside of the genre can be helpful, but they're also more likely not to get the story or react badly to elements of the story that may actually be appropriate for that genre. So it is important for you to also be as familiar as you can so you can know what really is helpful and what should be taken with a grain of salt.

rugcat
01-20-2007, 09:13 PM
I agree with DeadlyAccurate (I'd be a fool not to!) and with you, Jack, about getting the best critique from people who write in that genre. Good writing crosses all genres. Unconvincing dialogue knows no genre boundries

And don't forget, many who don't write in a specific genre may still read widely in it.

JDCrayne
01-21-2007, 05:35 AM
... it seems to me that with mystery, as with all genres, a certain amount of familiarity is helpful when offereing critiques. For instance, I will not venture out of the mystery genre to critique say, a romance or sci-fi novel, since I am not familiar with the conventions of the genre or the requirements of the market.


While that is true of genre plots and conventions, there are still a lot of points in any fiction that people in other fields can critique; such as continuity, grammar, believable motivation, plot "holes," etc.

Linda Adams
01-21-2007, 05:07 PM
While that is true of genre plots and conventions, there are still a lot of points in any fiction that people in other fields can critique; such as continuity, grammar, believable motivation, plot "holes," etc.

I wish I could say that was my experience. I've found that if the critters don't read the genre, it ends up coming through in everything they critique, even the basics like setting and plot. Imagine if you were writing a fantasy and being told to take out all the magic in the story because the critiquer doesn't believe in magic. Or being told--and this did happen at the last meeting--that it was okay for a mystery to have the murder occur late in the book. It isn't as a big a problem if the critiquee is familiar with the genre expections and knows what should be filtered and what should be interpreted differently than at face value. But it does become a problem if the critiquee doesn't really understand their genre well enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

JDCrayne
01-22-2007, 05:12 AM
But it does become a problem if the critiquee doesn't really understand their genre well enough to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Good point; I hadn't thought of that aspect of it. I think it's less true of mysteries than of fantasy and science fiction, though. Mysteries have their conventions, but the genre is closer to mainstream than books where the people teleport, or use virgins to snare unicorns.