Critique Groups: Keeping the Spark Present

So I didn’t work on my WIP all last week. I had deadline for an article, and I was focused on pulling it together into something more interesting than just a bunch of data points and dry information. Because, really, who’d want to read that?

Anyway, so I took a week off from writing the YA, and then yesterday headed off to critique group to share my feedback about my crit partner’s work and hear their comments about the one scene I’d managed to send off to them before the break.

Lots of stuff was said, good and not-so-good, as per usual. They liked stuff I hoped they would and caught problems I hadn’t even thought about, which is why I love them. And they asked questions, one of which was…did my hero like a particular young man. As in, you know…like like.

And my basic answer, at the time, was lots of groans and a bit of head-pounding against the table.

Then, last night, I was reading through some more of my current research book, which did not have to do with love or crushes or romance or kindred spirits. And all of a sudden, I knew exactly how my hero feels about this boy at the start of the book, why she rejects him, what she discovers about him as the story progresses, and why she….

Oh, no, no, no. You’re not getting the rest of that sentence until this book is finished.

Anyway…my point is that after my critique partner (I can’t remember which one!) asked the question, it sat in the back of my brain, even though I hadn’t thought about my story in a week. It simmered and bubbled, and the minute I turned the focus back to the WIP, even toward a totally different part of it, the spark caught. The lightbulb glowed, and the answer pushed itself to the top of my brain and…out.

THIS is what a critique group does.


  1. “It simmered and bubbled…” I love how stories keep spinning themselves out even when we turn away from them for awhile. And yes, they benefit from the fact that we occasionally leave them alone to work themselves out.


  2. Jenn Hubbard says:

    Yes, my critiquers raised several good questions on my current WIP!


  3. Sounds like the time away was not unfruitful and that you have a wonderful critique group. No surprises on both fronts!


  4. Stella Michel says:

    Love those lightbulb moments! Is this the historical fiction novel? Forgive me if I sound out of it (just returned from vacation and I’m still reorienting myself to the writing world after being away from it a while).


    • beckylevine says:

      It is the historical fiction novel. The one that, because of the choices my hero will be making (I think) needs to be YA, which pretty much means some kind of love-interest thread, which is pretty much driving me CRAZY! 🙂 Good luck merging back in with your writing!


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