Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Interview: CP Melanie Stanford

Hey all! I am trying something new with the old blog lately. I am going to be interviewing folks who might have some interesting perspectives on writing, publishing, editing, and all that good stuff. So to start things off, I'd like to introduce you to Melanie Stanford, one of my two awesome critique partners!

(For those of you who don't know, a critique partner is a person who reads your work and gives you feedback before you put it out there in the world. They are invaluable for people who want to improve their writing skills. That being said, everyone has to find a style and group that works for them! I suggest swapping 10-15 pages for critique and then deciding how you feel about the other person's style, and vice versa. That is how I found Melanie and Sarah and they are the beeeeeeeeest.)

Take it away, Melanie!

1. Why do you write?
To shut up the voices in my head. Oh, and because I love it.
2. Where you're from, how long you've been writing, etc.
I've moved around a lot- Saskatchewan, Ontario, Connecticut, Utah, and currently Alberta. I've been writing since grade two, when I wrote the 100-page masterpiece, Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet Bloody Mary.

2. What is your critiquing style when you are reading for others?
My comments are whatever I'm thinking in the moment. And I nitpick at sentences, I can't help it. I'm slowly getting better at critiquing big picture, but it's been something I've had to learn. (Still learning.)
3.  What do you like to get out of critiquing when someone is reading for you?
Anything and everything. Whatever isn't working, whether it's a sentence, or the entire manuscript. Otherwise, how can it get better?
4. What do you find unhelpful in critiquing?
I don't think there's anything unhelpful (unless someone says, you suck, quit writing now). It can definitely be frustrating when you hear, "this isn't working but I don't know why" because I often don't know why either. But stepping back for a bit and brainstorming usually helps. And I love a critiquer who throws out ideas- whether I take them or not it gets my brain going.
5. How many CPs do you have? How did you find them?
I have three trusted CPs who are invaluable. One is a sister-in-law who is also an editor for a small press, the other two I found online, I don't even remember how. I've also had different beta readers throughout my many manuscripts.
6. What do you recommend to writers looking for CPs?
Put yourself out there online, and most importantly- offer to critique or beta for someone else. Give and you get back, and if you're lucky you'll find people you really connect with. :)

Follow Melanie on Twitter here!

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