Monday, June 11, 2012

On Critique Partners

A critique partner is a very needed person to have in your writing life.

The trouble is, finding the one that fits.  While everyone out there knows how to critique, not everyone does it the way you need.  Some of us need the harsh partner, who completely covers our pages in red, digs in deep, and tears the story apart.  Others need the softer shoulder, the encouraging words and light editing in order to not forever scare them away from writing forever.

I have been lucky to be blessed with, at this time, two amazing critique partners.  They give me their thoughts, advice, and red lines of doom while still cheering me on every word of the way.  I love them.  And honestly couldn't see myself going on without them.

Fellow writer, and great #writeshove buddy, Laura recently posted this awesome little story on her blog.  After reading it, I just knew I had to share it with all of you here today.

Capilocks and the Three Critique Partners
Once upon a time, there lived a young writer with stories worth gold bouncing from her head. She dreamed of an amazing house—a publishing house that would take her manuscript all the way to Happily Ever After. So after Capilocks trudged through the Forest of Revision, she set out to find a critique partner that was juuuuuuust right.

The first partner she found was a tough one. He flashed his red Sharpie and laughed a maniacal laugh as he slayed each sentence and made them his own. He belittled her ideas, told her to only write to the trends, and tweeted mean things about her crappy first drafts.

Capilocks shuddered. “This relationship is too hard.” She wished him well, gathered her tattered ego, and backed away.

The next partner she found was quite cuddly. She dotted her I’s with smileys and hearts, embraced every adverb, and proclaimed, “Brilliant! Send it!” whenever Capilocks scribbled out a new manuscript on the back of a phone message. Capilocks liked this new partner. She never criticized and always encouraged, but Capilocks' stories were still rather suckish.

“This critiquer is too soft,” she said. Capilocks looked around for someone new.

At last, she landed in a relationship with a fabulous writer and caring soul—someone who wanted her to succeed, but wasn’t afraid to ask tough questions. Someone who encouraged her voice, but hid the postage stamps and guarded the send button until manuscripts were polished and prime.

“This critique relationship is just right,” said Capilocks. And it was.

My tip to you today?  Whether you are just getting started, finishing up draft one, hard at work editing draft fifty or already published:
Find yourself a critique partner.  

Thank you Laura for letting me share this story.  And thank you to my partners, for everything you do.  You are awesome.

Do you have a critique partner?  Are you one to a fellow writer?  Do share!

Happy Writing!


Jess said...

I agree~ critique partners rock! There's no way I could improve without them.

By the way, Romi (over at Where the Writer Comes to Write- here's a link to the post: just listed the top 15 books on her reading list, and Prison Nation is on there! Just thought you might want to know :)

Jenni Merritt said...

Jess - Thanks for the link! I still get SO giddy whenever I see Prison Nation appear on blogs and lists! Love it! :D


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