Monday, May 28, 2012

The Reason You Need Crit Partners

I came across this quote the other day and while the image doesn't make much sense (um, a fish? Why?) and although the post it's talking about something else entirely, it made me think of one thing instantly:

Critique Partners.

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.

To share this post anywhere on the web, just click on the green button to the left. It's this new doo-hickey thing I'm trying. Tell me if you like it?


Arianne said...

i'm hoping to actually get some type of writing done to send to my critique partner.. i'm weird because i got a partner before I even start the writing process.

Miriam Forster said...

Great post! One of the things I'm so excited about with this move is that I get to reconnect with my old critique group. I've missed them so, and just having my husband and editor isn't always enough.

VikLit said...

Great post, I completely agree. It can be easier to notice things in other people's writing - you can see the woods for the trees better. Then one can say, hmm, do I do this myself? Plus you have the benefit of their eyes too.

Gabe (Ava Jae) said...

Well to answer your question, I think the green button is very cool (and kind of adorable how all the share buttons pop out). I'd say I'm not sure if people will get right away that that's how you share the post, but as all you have to do is roll your mouse over it to activate it, it's pretty self-explanatory.

As for critique partners, I agree 100%. The trick is finding critique partners that aren't afraid to be honest with you and give you an actual critique (versus a general "This is great!" or "Didn't like it."). Once you find the right ones, critique partners are truly invaluable to the writing process.

Magan said...

Totally agree about CP's. I remember when I had someone read How to Date an Alien they commented on me using 'as' alot. I didn't think I did, so I went through the manuscript and low and behold I did! Now when I critique other manuscripts I'm really keen on looking for that as well. I think it helps to get those great critiques and then use them to help ourselves and others.

Leah Petersen said...

I 100% agree on critique partners. Especially about finding good ones. I've had some who were not really helpful, some who would have been harmful if I'd followed their advice, and have found ones who are invaluable. Who call me on my bs, and aren't afraid to flat out tell me it didn't work.

In fact, I thought of you the other day, how you'd written a post between ATU and AMS about having sent the finished MS to crit partners and being told it didn't work and having to basically rewrite. (I may be remembering someone else and this wasn't you at all. It's you in my head, so we'll run with that.) Since the same thing happened to me recently it was nice to know that I'm not the only one. But also to see acknowledged how important crit partners are.