Thursday, January 26, 2012


We all know how difficult it is to find a critique partner.

First, you have to find a person who has similar interests. Ideally, they should read the kind of book that you are working on. They don’t necessarily have to love the genre, but at least not run screaming upon opening the first chapter.

Sometimes having a person who doesn’t read your particular genre is beneficial because they can provide an alternate view point from someone who is familiar with the genre. I have a wonderful critique partner who writes fantasy. She’d never read YA, which allowed her to ask questions about my ms that I’d never thought about. This ultimately allowed her to find plot holes in my manuscript that I missed. Thank you, Michelle H.

Being a partner is indeed a partnership. It’s about offering to reciprocate by reading their work. It’s about finding the good, the bad, and the ugly in a story and being able to provide a constructive critique that doesn’t demean the other person’s writing.

Hearing you suck, totally sucks! Make suggestions on how to better a particular scene by providing examples of what you are talking about. You know, the whole show don't tell. It works when giving critiques, too.

Everyone is at different stages of learning their craft, from the veteran to the newbie; yet, no matter what stage you are in, you should always be open to learning from another person’s point of view. You may not always agree with what a person suggests, but try seeing the critique through their eyes. You may be surprised.

If you think a particular critique is F.O.S., ignore that particular suggestion. Ultimately, it’s your choice which critiques you’ll take and which you’ll discard. Always remember, this is your creation. Trust your instincts. Enjoy delving into your world and displaying it to the best of your ability. Seek help when needed.

Once you find someone who is willing to give up their time to critique your manuscript, a certain thing is necessary to keep good will.

It’s called saying THANK YOU.

Two little words, but they mean so much.

Remember that the critiquer may be just as anxious about how their critique is received as you are by receiving it. Hit the reply button on that email to acknowlege that you received their critique and it didn't land in their spam box. Thank them for their time. It's the same as if you received a present. You may not totally love the gift, but at least let them know you appreciate they cared enough to knit you that ugly, Christmas sweater with the reindeer on it.

The critiquer took time from their own projects to help you. Don't take their willness to read your work for granted. Be humble. Be appreciative.

This is the key to finding and keeping your critique partners. And if you cherish them, they will cherish you.


  1. "Remember that the critiquer may be just as anxious about how their critique is received as you are by receiving it."

    Amen! I remember getting so super worried about sending my initial critique, hoping that I was helpful. I tend to make a lot of random comments and I was told once that it came off as heckling. Agh! So not what I meant, but then I got such a different response from someone else, saying that she LOVED the running commentary because it let her know what reaction the book was getting, and made her laugh through the constructive criticism. If she hadn't sent me that, I would've stopped critiquing the way I had. Which would have been a shame since I've gained 3 more awesome cp's since then who all love my critiquing style.

    So it's good to let your cp's know that you appreciate their feedback.

    (And forgive my rambles, lol)

  2. Hi Cassie Mae,
    Thank you for commenting. I your style of critiquing. I get a kick out of reading how someone feels or thinks during a particular scene.

    If they're laughing during a scene that's supposed to be heartbreaking then I know I did something wrong. It's true, not everyone will appreciate your style.

    I'm glad you found partners who love you for you:)

  3. I love what you said about showing and not telling applying to critiques as well. Great post!

  4. Thank you, JA:) I tend to learn better when I have an example before me.

  5. My boyfriend is my best critique partner so far and at first he got a lot of anxiety about critiquing me. He kept asking me if I was mad about his critiques and I made sure to reassure him that I wasn't.

    It's true that critique partners get nervous, especially when they are someone who is also emotionally close to you.

  6. Hi E.B.,
    My hubby just critiqued my first chapter and I wanted to hide under the covers. He broke down each sentence. It was rough. But, I'm now revising based on his suggestions. He can be tough on me, because he knows I'll still love him after he's finished.

  7. I agree 100% Angie, I am new at this critique thing both giving and receiving. I never offered my services because I am still learning so much and didn't feel I had much to offer. Thanks to this post and Cassie Mae's comment I am now in the critique business:.) I love that I have found such wonderful people (yourself included) along my journey, with each of you I would still be at step 1.

    Thanks for posting, very well said!

  8. Well said, sis! The topic your tackling here is important for all writers to know. No matter where we are in our career, we must never forget to have gratitude toward those who've supported us, helped us move forward. You are awesomesauce! I can never say it enough.

  9. Fantastic post, Angie. It's so true. It is hard to find one or more people you can have a long-term critiquing relationship with. But when you do, they are the medicine your manuscript needs.

  10. Thank you Paula, Kate, and Joyce. You three are amazing critique/beta partners. I'm grateful to have you in my life.

  11. Great post, Angie. And, thank you for all of your help!

  12. You're welcome, Carla, and ditto, sis. Love ya much.

    Thank you so much for always being there for me. For reading multiple versions of my wips, for listening as I vent about plot holes, for catching things I miss. You are much appreciated.

  13. I started getting my feet wet in the critique pool by doing queries on Agent Query Connect. That's how I found my first critique group. And from there my second and third. I only recently found one person to critique with, but I love each and everyone of them. Appreciation is definitely the key. Without any of my critique partners I would be so lost.
    Great post Angie! :)

  14. Hi Kela,
    I started the same way over at AQC, then moved from critiquing queries to the posting marathon in the spec fiction group where I met my critique partners. AQC is a wonderful resource to connect with others.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience:)


Now it's your turn. What do you think?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...