I reached one of those writing milestones a while back – finding a critique partner (or, in my case, partners) to help me navigate the ins and outs of whatever manuscript I’m working on.
I joined some local writing groups but hadn’t run across anyone I felt comfortable sharking my novel-length work with. In some cases it was a mismatch between what we wrote (genre versus literary; novels versus short stories) or work ethic (I’m Type A all the way).
Then last October Adventures in Children’s Publishing had a post on Alpha and Beta Reader Exchange with the option to post a critique profile in the comments.
So I did. What could it hurt? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect – after all, I write a mix of speculative fiction, YA, and historical romance. But to my surprise and delight, someone contacted me within a week.
That person was Anonymeet (rockin’ her anonymity just like me!) who blogs at By Anonymous Writer about reading and writing.
Months later, writer Lori M. Lee contacted me thanks to the same Adventures in Children’s Publishing post. She recently started blogging about her writing journey at You Are the Unicorn of My Dreams and has a short story published at Daily Science Fiction.
Both of them have been brave enough to tackle my historical romance, while I work through their respective YA projects. It’s been a hugely rewarding and educational experience, so please check these wonderful ladies out!
It’s amazing what another reader can spot – whether it’s a lingering typo or some plot element you thought was logical but doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. Sometimes you just need your CP to say “You can do better than this.” Or say “You are awesome,” when you are feeling distinctly… not.
Having CPs can make the writing path less lonely. It gives you validation that, yes, you are taking your writing seriously and taking the steps necessary to succeed.
And I hope everyone finds the right CP for them!
Here are some resources to find a critique partner for your work:
Jean Oram’s post How to Choose a Writing Critique Partner includes links to places to find other like-minded writers.
Author Jody Hedlund offers 4 Ways to Find Critique Partners and her CP Keli Gyn talks about Six Steps for Approaching Potential Critique Partner.
Agent Mary Kole occasionally has Critique Connection posts to help YA/MG writers find one another on her blog Kidlit.com.
Lynda R. Young recently posted How to Find a Good Critique Partner with some great tips as well.