Friday, August 19, 2011

How To Find a Critique Partner

A good critique partner is worth their weight in gold. Someone who points out what you can’t see, is clear and precise in their advice, and able to do all this with the compassion and understanding that can only come from a fellow writer, well if you find one, you’re on cloud nine.

The problem is that it’s really hard to find them. I have  been blessed with a phenomenal team mate in the writing life and I wanted to share some tips on how to find a critique partner of your own.

·        Join yahoo groups in your genre. Did you know that there are thousands of groups all specializing in a type of writing? From science fiction-horror to paranormal vampire teen love stories, there is a group for you. The best place to find a critique partner is where other writers in your genre hang out.

·        Join a local critique group. Writers that take the time out of their busy schedule to meet with other writers are bound to be serious about their craft. Join a group and bring your chapters. It’s a great way to get multiple critiques at once.

·        Take Part in Blogfests. If you have a blog, and you should if you’re a writer bent on publication, then joining blogfests is a great way to meet other writers. Sometimes you hit it off with someone and exchange chapters with one another. Blogger, Rachel Harrie, came up with a Beta-Match campaign in June that was awesome.

·        Join a Writer’s Guild. Most guilds offer a forum for writers to exchange work and critique each other’s chapters. It’s a nice way to connect with other members as well.

Whichever avenue you chose, be sure that you understand that it is usually a quid pro quo situation. For every chapter that you submit, you critique someone else’s.  Also remember to be gracious. If you don’t like the advice, don’t argue. Thank them for their time and move on.  With a little luck and some perseverance, you’ll find your dream writing partner.

(Post originally appeared on Purple Knot blog tour.)


Michael Offutt said...

You definitely speak truth here. I've never been able to find one.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Or just put out a desperate cry for help on your blog! That's how I found my three critique partners.

Isis Rushdan said...

Great suggestions. It took me the longest to find good cps.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Michael - They are elusive creatures. Good luck! :)

Alex - I like your style...and it worked!

Isis - I hear you. :)

Eric W. Trant said...

I agree and I'll add that I've found readers and critics everywhere and anywhere.

My old boss is reading my current piece. He's providing excellent feedback!

I've met several people in online forums, as you suggest. Not only do you meet them, but you have the added advantage of reading some of their material before you exchange pieces. That helps weed out partners that don't jive with you.

I'll also add that like a lover, you don't go looking for a crit partner. It happens when it happens. Go to the forums and groups to interact professionally, not to find your partner. Your ideal partner may not be there, and when you finally meet them you may come off as desperate and spook em!

- Eric

Raquel Byrnes said...

LOL! Well said, Eric. Thank you for the trolling tips. :D

Yes, joining a group should be to make connections. Finding support and encouragement is so important.

Avadonja said...

It really does take the writing process out of the dark cave when you have a partner. Thanks for the tips!

Michael Offutt said...

They are elusive creatures. Just responding to your comment above. And you know, writers outside of the web, are kind of like moles. They are hard to spot because they are underground. And finding readers too seems to be getting more and more difficult outside of the web. All of my local friends don't read any books. Here in Salt Lake City, the men and women are the most attention-starved individuals I have ever seen, nearly knocking over each other to try and get some kind of spotlight on them constantly...from bbq's to social events. It takes solitude to be able to enjoy a book and more and more, it seems that people equate solitude with depression and loneliness. I'm not sure why this is.

Anyway, great post Raquel. Thanks for visiting my blog.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Raquel, thank you so much for stopping by to say hi. I enjoyed this post very much, you have given us valuable advice and great suggestions.

Take care,

Kathy M.

L'Aussie said...

Great post Raquel. You're blessed haveing great CPs. It is so hard to find just the right people with the same expectations etc.


Carol Riggs said...

I agree--great CPs are hard to find, and worth their weight in gold, or more! I've stumbled upon mine, and I'm glad I have them. Mostly gotten them thru the blogging community. It's a great place to find like-minded writers!