Recently someone on my Facebook page asked me if I paid for editing on my novels. The short answer: no. Of course my novels are edited, but that's something that comes with the book deal. And I did self-edit my novels when I was submitted them, but I didn't pay for an editor.
Instead, I got critique partners. And I have to be honest--I think finding the right match in critique partners might just be one of the very best things a writer can do for herself.
And the quote above definitely exemplifies that. Having a good critique partnership means that you give and take. Your work is critiqued--but oftentimes, it's not the critique itself that is valuable. It's the critique you're doing for the other person.
Example: I would often get a critique that I overuse a phrase or word. Then I would look at it in my manuscript and all I'd see is that I used it maybe three times. What was the big deal? But when I read other manuscripts, and see a very specific phrase used three times within that many pages, I realized how annoying it was. By seeing it in other manuscripts, I really started to understand why something small like an overused phrase makes a big difference.
A good critique partnership will definitely put you on the path to writing better manuscripts from the start. You want someone who can challenge you, point out the things you can't see for yourself--but someone whose work you can be challenged by. Helping others really makes you help yourself.
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