In response to another writer who was wondering how to find a good critique partner, I decided to dedicate my blog today to the wonderful world of critiquing.
How to find a good partner…
• Join writer’s groups. Online or in person, either way you feel comfortable doing it. You’ll learn so much from a fellow writer, especially one with more experience than you have. But, don’t just join, join in. It does you no good to join a group if you don’t participate. People are much more helpful once they get to know you better.
• Ask your friends/family to read it. They may not be the best with grammer or punctuation, but they can sure tell you what they like and what they don’t. Just because they’re not writers, doesn’t mean they’re not readers.
• Get to know the writer’s you meet. You never know if they or someone they know is also looking for a partner. The best way to find a partner you click with, is to get to know them personally before you start exchanging words (MS’s that is).
• Join a blog group. You’re blog partners can become some of your best friends and partners, in more ways than one. Remember, a good critique partner is all about the relationship. You never know if a member of the group is looking for a partner as well.
What makes a good critique partner?
• Honesty. You don’t want someone telling you your writing is great if it’s really not. That’s not going to help you improve and it won’t help you make the sale. If something needs improved, you need to know about it so you can fix it.
• Knowledgeable. If they don’t know what the rules are, how can they help you? As I said earlier, they can still be helpful, by telling you whether or not they like it. But, you need someone who knows the rules of grammer to help you make it shine.
• They tell you what’s good about it, as well as what needs fixed. No one wants a critique partner who only tells them the bad points. Although, the advice may be useful, there will be too many hurt feelings for the critique to be taken seriously. If they tell you both the good and bad, you can learn where your strengths are as well as your weaknesses.
• They are specific. Misunderstandings aren’t helpful. If there is miscommunication, it helps no one. A critique partner should be specific about what exactly is wrong, and hopefully, a good way to fix it.
• They are objective. If it’s not their cup of tea, they might not be giving you the right advice. Just because one person doesn’t like that style, doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands of people out there who do like it. If they aren’t objective, they may bring their own baggage into the crit, which can be more hurtful, than helpful.
• They are patient. Writers are busy people. For the most part, writing is their second job. Usually, it takes a long time before they can make enough at writing alone to pay the bills. And, when they do finally make it enough to quit the full time job, that means they’re selling, a lot. So, they have deadlines to finish. That’s a good thing to remember before sending multiple emails asking where your chapter is.
• They give as well as they get. They are a real partner. They don’t expect you to crit for them without doing their part. It is a two way street. Work should travel both roads, in and out.
Good websites to check out…
I hope this was helpful and informative. What do you look for in a critique partner? Do you have ideas I haven’t expressed? If so, please leave a comment! I’d love to hear what you have to say. Good luck to everyone in their writing adventures!