Monday, October 17, 2011

The Invaluable Critique Partners

First off, thank you to all of you amazing peeps who stop by and read and comment, even when my blog hopping has been minimal. I adore you so much and cherish your comments. Hubby and I have been on a staycation and he's a real stickler when it comes to letting me have internet time during staycation. :)

Anyway, I participate in a blog chain with a group of bloggers who all post on different days on a specified topic. It's a lot of fun and if you're interested in joining, let me know and I'll connect you with the right peeps. 

Today's topic is critique partners, and more specifically, where we met them and how they've influenced our work.

Each partner I've ever worked with is someone I've met on the internet. A few years ago, before I had discovered the wonderful world of blogging, I joined the Writer's Digest Community online. It connected me with so many awesome writers--peeps who are serious about their craft and getting published. One group in particular connected me with some great writers ...

It was a forum called the Weekly Chapter Challenge, created by EJ Wesley. The idea was to find partners we could exchange chapters with each week. It was a brilliant idea. And from that forum alone, I met EJ, who critiqued my most recent MG story and was an amazing help. I also met others who have come and gone, but found Kathryn Sheridan Kupanoff, who's writing and storytelling is just scrumptious and I've enjoyed so much watching her grow as a writer. She's been my partner for at least three stories now, and I look forward to her very honest and helpful feedback with every new story.

Also, it connected me with the very talented Trisha Leaver and Florence Fois who have critiqued past stories and given me invaluable feedback to hone my skills with. If you're in need of a critique partner, I highly recommend connecting with other writers via Writer's Digest Community.

There are other great places as well, such as YALitChat.org if you write for kids, and Verla Kay,. Or just by connecting with other writers thru their blogs. I exchanged recently with the very talented Lori M. Lee just by noticing she was looking for a beta reader on her blog. The opportunities are out there, and  really you just can't have too many beta readers/ crit partners in my opinion.

With each story, I try to find at least three different people to read them, and with each reader comes more helpful feedback. I've also found that it helps too to seek out readers who can really identify with the plot and characters. If your story is a legal thriller, you better have at least one lawyer read it. ;) And you not only want to have advanced writers critiquing your work, but also, readers who are just looking for entertainment.

Anyway, that's my two cents on critique partners. If you'd like to read more from the blog chain, check out Eric's blog and Michelle McLean's.

Tell me, how did you find your critique partner? And what have you learned from the experience?  

36 comments:

Sarah Pearson said...

I love reading about how people find their crit partners and beta readers. It makes me realise it's not so daunting, more a matter of 'clicking' with the right people.

Miranda Hardy said...

You and I are a lot alike. I found some great partners through the avenues. Trisha and I even exchanged books at one time, too.

Luckily, I have a local partner now and we meet weekly, helping each other out with our current works. It's been wonderful.

Jessica Bell said...

Found them both blogging. I seriously don't know how I lived without them before. I've learned that you really need a crit partner who understands what you're all about and who doesn't feel inclined to change your work to how they would write it themself.

Kittie Howard said...

I so agree with Jess above. The human element trumps much.

Sarah said...

I found one through a forum, one through an existing CP, and one through Twitter and blogging. All are fantastic and give me different kinds of feedback, Great post!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

How did I find mine? I just posted a big "Help me!" on my blog and received a ton of offers. From those I found Rusty, Jeffrey, and Anne.

Madeleine said...

Lots of great links, thanks. Glad you've had some positive expeiences with these critique groups

Old Kitty said...

This is why the blogging community is so fab! Thanks for all these scrummy links - glad you have a fabulous array of talented CPs!! Take care
x

L.C. Frost said...

I found mine on Nathan Bransford's forums, back when they had first begun. It was sort of spontaneous; we just got to messaging on there and then emailing. Looking back, it seems like a huge stroke of luck. Out of all the peeps on there, I'd found the two most amazing ones.

Lori M. Lee said...

You can never have too many blogs about critique partners :D People are always looking, and oftentimes miss the ones already out there so this is great.

Monica B.W. said...

I found one of mine on WriteOnCon and the others via Twitter or blogging, or Absolute Write. I love my CPs!
Now I'm looking for betas too! :D

Laila Knight said...

I love my CPs but I'm thinking of joining a writer's community just to have more POVs into what I'm writing. Thanks for the links. :)

Kathryn said...

Thanks for the sweet shout out! :) I always appreciate the tough feedback you give me, and always look forward to anything you give me to read! :D

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

I agree it's very useful to have a variety of critique partners. It's a good idea to have a subject matter expert review your work too (if appropriate).

LTM said...

I got mine from blogging! And oh, man! Are they invaluable. Love those guys. Everyone needs good critters~ :o) <3

Josh Hoyt said...

Great post thanks for the good information!

Alleged Author said...

I love critique partners and critting for people as well. Mine are so busy!

Carol Riggs said...

Thanks for the great linky ideas for CPs. I've also found one CP via Twitter. :)

Christine Fonseca said...

I just love reading everyone's cp list! NICE!!!

Michelle McLean said...

very nice :D Verla Kay and YALitChat are excellent sources. So fun to see how everyone met their CPs :D

Sandra McLeod Humphrey said...

I've never had a critique partner, but you make it sound very appealing. I just may have to look into this and thanks for the suggestions. What do you mean by "beta"--I keep seeing that term, and I have no idea what it means.

Anonymous said...

PK, I must leave my comment as "anon" ... This is Florence Fois and I thank you for the mention. You and Donna were two of my best friends on Writer's Digest Community.

Critique partners are one of the most invaluable tools for any writer. They provide feedback and help us to learn how to perfect those first drafts.

Like you, I also have one or two people who I send stories to for the sole purpose of entertainment, or to find how the story sounds to readers.

Once again you offer great links and insights that help writers on every level. Thanks :)

Judy Croome | @judy_croome said...

Staycations are the best! I often find them more relaxing than vacations! :)

My critique partners are the best! We all met on line in 2003 and have been together every since.

Judy, South Africa

Pk Hrezo said...

@Sandra beta reader means someone who samples your story before it's been finalized. they offer feedback in ways that help you improve your actual story, and not necessarily the writing. :)

Perri said...

Hi PK,

I loved hearing about your crit partners. I don't know what I'd do without my writing pals. One of my groups met on craigslist, of all places!

BTW, I've sent an award your way. Come by and pick it up.

Stephen Tremp said...

I post on Facebook and whoever responds can read my almost finished MS. Some people I know, others a re total strangers, other writers who befriend each other to pad their FB follower numbers. Nothing too scientific here.

Stacy Henrie said...

My crit group intially formed when we all met at a writers conference. We meet in person twice a month at one of our houses and e-mail 10 pages beforehand to be critiqued. Then we get together and talk about our suggestions.

It's been the BEST thing to happen to my writing. I owe a lot to these gals!

alexia said...

I am lucky to have family members who are writers, who I get to crit my stuff... but I may explore the online sources one day. Thanks for the tips!

DL Hammons said...

Like most everyone else who's commented before, I found my CP's right here on the blogs. I can honestly say they've changed my life and improved my novel immensely!!

Margie Gelbwasser said...

I've never heard of YAlitchat.org. Thank you for the suggestions!!

erica and christy said...

Virtual friends are the best, really!!

We've been gone lately, too. Life, you know?
erica

Julie Musil said...

Oh my goodness, I've learned a ton from my critique partners. We met through SCBWI, and I tell ya, they are both so talented and helpful. Not only do I learn from the comments they make on my work, but I learn so much just from reading their work. They're both so talented!

You listed such great ways for writers to connect...thank you!

William Kendall said...

I've got several, and I'm lucky enough to have learned a lot from all of them.

Nisa said...

Very good advice! Crit partners are the best. Yea!

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