Besides ideas and a burning desire to write, writers should have a critique group or partner. Critique groups or partners serve an important role by being objective, non-emotional readers. They are detached from your words which make it easier for them to spot weaknesses in your manuscript.
But, be careful. New writers tend to have blind faith in their critique group or be doggedly obstinate about their writing. Meaning, the new writer doing everything or nothing their critique group suggests. Doing either one is a bad idea. The key is balance. One must be open to changes and at the same time know when to trust their gut and hold firm. Trusting your gut comes with time and experience.
For example: if you’re writing a story about a little girl who dances with unicorns every night and your critique groups says it should be dragons because they’re “hot right now” ; ) or make it dinosaurs because “all kids like them.” Don’t do it. Unless you feel as passionately about dinosaurs or dragons as you do about unicorns.
Write what you feel passionately about. If you write to follow trends, it will show in your manuscripts with a lackluster prose.
Finding a critique group or partner is hard, but necessary. Not only should they write in the genre that you do, but they should have some experience with writing or critiquing. You may go through several critique groups or partners, but eventually you’ll find a match. When that happens, treasure them!
When you’re done with your manuscript and are happy with your revisions based on your critique group, beta reader or gut, check out the following link before submitting your manuscript.
How do you feel about critique groups?