Wednesday, February 2, 2011

7 Reasons We Need a Critique Partner

1. A critique partner, as opposed to a regular family member, should ideally have some knowledge of the industry, grammar, punctuation, and so forth. They will be better equipped to express what might be technically wrong with our manuscript (ms). Family members and close friends may just tell us things we want to hear.

2. Writers often suffer from blindness when it comes to their own ms. I can go through my work a billion times and still not catch basic mistakes. A critique partner will zero in on these mistakes.

3. What goes on in my brain isn’t always what I’ve put down on paper. A critique partner will often point out the holes in my story. They will help us find clarity in our meaning.

4. It’s not uncommon to repeat words and phrases. A critique partner can point out our favourite catch phrases, words and descriptions. In my previous project I didn’t realise everyone scowled all the time. In my current project, now everyone gasps.

5. My experience of critique partners is they are supportive and helpful. I’ve learned so much, not only from gaining critiques, but also giving critiques.

6. Critique partners push us to do better.

7. Critique partners teach us to grow a thick skin. The more we put our work out there for judgement, the easier it gets to hear criticism, and the faster we will learn and improve.

Can you think of any other benefits from having a critique partner? What’s the best tip you’ve gained from your critique partner?

47 comments:

  1. I love all these reasons you've put down - and realize I need a new writing group asap!

    CPs also keep you honest, and writing. I've been without a writing group for a while now and I've noticed that I don't feel as accountable - no one waiting for pages to read means I don't "have" to finish them.

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  2. I like #6 - that's the one thing my crit partner does that I love and hate. I usually want to cry or throw something at her until I realize she was right all along.

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  3. KatieO, you make a very good point! Accountability is a big one.

    mshatch, hehe yep, I've gone through that ;)

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  4. It's all very good advice and very interesting! I need to step it up over here...

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  5. Seven great reasons WE ALL need critique partners.


    Michael

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  6. Critique partners ROCK!!!!! They see things I will never see with my wip. They provide me and allow me,distance.

    The best tip I got from one of my very first critique partners?? "Take a break, go see a movie, have a great night out!" LOL! Take care
    x

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  7. I rely heavily on mine! Good arguement, although a smart writer wouldn't aregue against the idea.

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  8. Oh gosh, I would be nowhere without my critique partners. They do all of the things that you mentioned. I didn't know what I didn't know before I had a critique group. I learned from people who were more experienced than me. But as I became more experienced and new people joined the group, I learned a lot from becoming a "teacher". A critique group is essential for any writer.

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  9. Michael, thanks

    Old Kitty, haha I love the best tip you got from your critique partner. Awesome :)

    Alex, hehe, you have a point :)

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  10. Melissa, I love the two-way relationship with critique partners. Like you said, teaching others is just as helpful.

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  11. I love my critique partners! They are always honest and help me so much.

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  12. A good critiquer is worth his/her weight in gold!

    Are you going to have to face the cyclone? I'm sending good thoughts towards Oz, hoping to push it away from land.

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  13. Yup, definitely. I learn things that I can apply to my own writing when I critique others' manuscripts. And I love the hard critiquers who push my writing to new levels. Yay for hard-nosed critiquers! (thank you, my dear).

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  14. Excellent reasons for have a crit buddy. I struggle with #3 in your list. What's in my head doesn't always make it to the paper. (My editor is good to point that out sometimes!)

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  15. So true, a writer always need a second eye:)

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  16. Awesome list. I love my critique partners. Actually waiting to hear from them now :)

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  17. Hello.
    It all sounds very lovely.. but I've wanted to find a critique partner for over a year - and don't really know where to find one. I've had offers to join groups on twitter ... but really I feel I need to build rapport before letting someone critique my work. I've had a lot of slanderous critiques when I let me guard down.
    One day I hope I can trust someone and develop that rapport to enjoy what you've talked about here.

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  18. How does one go about getting a critique partner? Or two. I live in the middle of nowhere and don't even have writing groups in this area.

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  19. The key is to find the right critique group/partner. The one(s) that aren't afraid to give honest feedback.

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  20. EXACTLY!!! I wouldn't be without mine :)

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  21. This is a great list... they are extremely helpful!

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  22. ah, you are right in all the points, as usual, Lyndy!

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  23. I agree with all of it, but especially number 3.

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  24. You're spot on. I would add that if you get stuck and can't see around the corner of you ms, crit partners can help you generate a flew plot twists, or a new voice.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, fantasy author

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  25. Yes great points and also a family member feels they either need to encourage you OTT or they feel inhibited to say what they really think. :O)

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  26. I really appreciated your comments on having a critique group. It's true they catch things we miss, and learning to brace against certain remarks does make us take criticism better. It just sometimes can be hard if you don't agree with what is said. I try to remember that it is all about helping me be the best writer I can be. thanks again for all the reasons!
    Debbie

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  27. Clarissa, honest crit partners are the best.

    Bish, Thanks for your thoughts. No, I'm not in the cyclone area but I've been praying for those who are. Cyclone Yasi is HUGE.

    Carol, hehe, I enjoy it. It helps when the story I'm critiquing is a good one :)

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  28. TK Richardson, yep, I'm the same. When my CP went through my work for the first time she asked me a whole heap of questions I initially thought were obvious. I needed her to tell me they weren't. Oops ;)

    Toyin, or a third...a fourth... ;)

    Summer, thanks

    Las Vegas, cool :)

    Arlee, It's my opinion that it's best to have more than one.

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  29. Michelle, it is a difficult thing. Nathan Bransford has a crit partner search thingy on his forums if you don't mind publically describing what you want critiqued. It's a way of finding good matches.

    Gary, my critique partner lives on the opposite side of the world to me, so location isn't a big issue. What's difficult is finding that rapport and a similar skill level. Find someone in the blogsphere who writes similar things to you and send them an email. Or, like I said to Michelle above, join Nathan Bransford's forum.

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  30. Alison, honest feedback is so important.

    Tabitha, same :)

    WritingNut, I'm so glad

    Dezzy-baby-hun, thanks :)

    Patti, I'm actually surprised how many people have responded to #3. Oddly enough I find that quite encouraging ;)

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  31. Nancy, oh yes! For sure! They are great for helping us to generate ideas too :)

    Madeleine, exactly. My close family love my work so much I'm surprised I'm not the most popular writer in the world! ;) (having said that, it's also nice to hear those words too even if they are biased)

    Debbie, crit partners are only human too. We still have to weigh in everything they tell us. It's normal for us not to agree with everything they say. What works best for me is if I can justify why I may not agree with something my crit partner may have said, then it stays in the ms.

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  32. They will help us find clarity in our meaning.

    That is the best reason for having mine. I tend to write and think it is soooo clear and realize I left most of it in my head:)

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  33. Terri, oh I do that all too often ;)

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  34. That blindness towards one's own writing can be dangerous!

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  35. I definitely love my CP and beta readers for the above reasons.

    My CP loves to tell me when I've slipped out of my mc's voice.

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  36. Lydia, oh so true

    Stina, hehehe, yep, it's handy to have someone to tell us about those little slips.

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  37. Great post, Lynda. I totally agree with your seven points. They reiterate what I've learned in my writing group. I'm thankful these ladies are honest, professional, and tactful. We're not only a writing group but a support group as well. We feed from each other's energy.

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  38. I saw you mentioned on Melissa's blog and thought I'd stop by and say hello. Some interesting posts, I've enjoyed my visit. Nice to meet you.

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  39. I love the reasons you have mentioned. Though I have not put out my work to a Critique Partner yet, I will be doing so soon. I agree with you that as writers we tend to overlook our mistakes and another pair of eyes is very important.

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  40. The longer I'm with my group, the more brutal and honest I want them to be. Otherwise, I'm grinding my wheels. They're also a great source of support and camaraderie. Although they rip my work to shreds as needed, they also understand the work which went into it before I handed it over.

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  41. Claudia, yes, CPs make fantasitic support groups :)

    Petty Witter, welcome, and nice to meet you too

    Rachna, best of luck in your search for a CP

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  42. M Pax, yes, I feel the same way. It's good too, like yousaid, to have balance in a CP who understands the work involved

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  43. I agree with all the reasons you listed. How do I go about garnering a critique partner? I have just started my blog site, and haven't developed much of a following, except family members. Advice? Tx. Susan

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  44. Hi Susan, my latest post describes a few ways of gaining a critique partner.

    The best way to gain a following is to follow and comment on other blogs. Welcome to the community! :)

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