How to Pick a Good Critique Partner. Today I will cover what to do next to gain quality feedback from that partner, communication being the key factor:
Be specific about the kind of feedback you want. State what you want and when you want it, and be as clear as possible. This is important because if you give your critique partners little-to-no direction, then their comments will likely reflect this. For example, if you’re uncertain about your dialogue, then ask them if your dialogue works. You could even ask something as vague as, ‘I know something isn’t working in this scene, but I don’t know what it might be’. Note: don’t ask for your partners to look for too many things. A giant list of questions about your work will only overwhelm them.
State the genre and the target market. Don’t let your critique partners go in blind when you hand over your manuscript. It’s important they know what genre and market you are aiming for. What may work for a crime novel, may not work for a fantasy. Likewise, what may work for adult fiction, may not work for young adult. Knowing these details about your story will help your critique partners focus their comments.
Be specific about when you want the feedback. Be sure to give your critique partners plenty of time to go through your manuscript without rushing. However, without setting a finish date, you could be waiting a long time.
Nurture open communication. This is so you can easily clarify any comments your critique partners make. A relationship between writer and critiquer is far stronger if both parties feel comfortable with each other. There’ll be a better chance of gaining truthful comments, not comments the critiquer thinks the writer wants to hear.
Use more than one critique partner. Three critique partners will give you a clearer overview of your work than just one. What one person doesn’t like in your manuscript, two others may love. When there is a conflict in the feedback, I tend to go with the majority.
Approach your feedback with an open mind. Sometimes writers won’t recognize fantastic feedback because deep down they don’t want to hear their baby needs more work. While critiques are simply opinions, if you’ve picked your partners well, then most of those opinions will be educated. It’s worth listening to them. This doesn’t mean you should treat those opinions or suggestions like the law. Weigh everything you hear and then decide for yourself whether you agree, but do it with an open mind.
Do you struggle to get helpful feedback?
J Taylor Publishing is giving away five copies of the Make Believe anthology. If you'd like to hop on over for a chance at a copy, then click HERE! But be quick because the offer ends on November 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm Eastern Time