Finding a quality critique partner is proving to be more difficult than finding a husband. I found my husband simply by showing up to work every day and there he was…Even with the advent of online critique partner matchmaking services, I’ve still been unable to find a reliable crit partner.
Matching up compatible crit partners really is quite similar to seeking a mate. Similar personalities and attitudes help toward building a lasting relationship. It also helps to find a partner who writes in the same or similar genre. I don’t read much fantasy or science fiction, so I doubt I would be much good to a writer who writes those books. Are you a writer who needs a strict deadline? If so, you might seek a partner who can kick your ass as needed. Are you serious about getting published or just writing for funsies? Do you want to know the hard-core truth about your writing or do you want your critiques candy-coated and chocolate-covered?
Here’s what I’m seeking in a critique partner:
1. I don’t want to have to set firm deadlines, but you should return a critiqued chapter in a reasonable turnaround, say a week or so. You can definitely count on me to do the same.
2. You need to be serious about writing. It’s fine to write just for fun, but I’m serious about my career and if you’re not, you probably won’t commit to critiquing on a regular basis.
3. You need to understand that reading is a vital part of being a writer. If you tell me you don’t have time to read my manuscript, then it’s a good bet you “don’t have time” to read much else, either. Carving out time to read is critical to being a writer.
4. I want the truth – but nicely. There’s no need to “toughen me up”. Regular rejection has already done that and will continue to do so. My preference is to have a critique partner who will point out the flaws in my writing honestly but nicely, giving me a chance to fix these errors before sending the manuscript out into the world. Your job is tell me firmly but kindly that there is toilet paper stuck to my shoe or my slip is showing. Done with kindness, these critiques aren’t embarrassing or hurtful, but are instead much appreciated as helpful and even essential.
5. You must be genuinely open to criticism and have a true understanding of how essential critiques of your own work really are.
6. You must have a sense of humor. The journey to publication is tough. It’s a lot tougher if you can’t laugh about it.
7. You should be supportive and understanding. Struggling with rejection, fear, and self-doubt is so much easier when you’ve got a friend right there in the trenches with you!
If you or someone you know fits the above criteria, please let me know!!!