The Value of a Good Critique Partner
(and a Giveaway!)
While thinking of a topic to talk about today, I drew a complete blank but then received an email from my critique partner giving me feedback on yet another chapter of my current work in progress. She loved parts of it, wasn’t so keen on others and then made a suggestion that gave me the ever-wanted lightbulb moment I knew would strengthen the entire story.
So yes, you’ve guessed it, my chosen topic today is the value and importance of a good critique partner or group – notice I say ‘good’ because if you wind up with a bad partner or group you need to get the hell out of there as quickly as possible without looking back!
I am relatively new to the concept of exchanging chapters for critique and could kick myself for not reaching out sooner. In fact, the book I am here to promote today wasn’t critiqued by anyone and it has only been my latest two books (both with my agent) that have benefited from a second pair of eyes.
The reason for this wasn’t my own ego but rather the three times I had looked for critique partners before ended in disaster for either me or them – it is not an easy relationship to form but it SO worth it if you find the perfect partner. So what are you looking for? Read on…
When you write, you are too close or too critical or even too confident about your own work to view it objectively. A critique partner is not someone who is there to rip your blessed baby to shreds, but rather feed and nurture her so she is ready to go out into the big bad world, strong enough to take the feedback of reviewers and readers alike – come good or bad!
The right partner for you needs to first and foremost understand your work/style/voice – if they don’t ‘get you’ the feedback might be unnecessary negative. You don’t want to be matched with someone who would never buy your type of book in a million years.
You also want a person who is willing to exchange work at the same frequency and amount as you. Achieving this isn’t easy but I am happy to say I have found someone (after one or two misses!) who I hope to work with for years to come. So it is possible.
In my opinion, the minimum you should expect and give when looking for a successful partnership is honesty (not to be confused with brutality), encouragement, belief and yearning for your partner’s success in an often unfeeling industry. We writers need to grow a really tough skin and it’s nice knowing you’ve someone to rely on – whether that be to virtually wipe your tears or slap you on the back.
I wish you all the luck in the world if finding the perfect fit – all together now, three cheers for great critique partners!
I’d love to hear about your experiences – both good and bad…
Rachel’s latest release Paying The Piper is available from Lyrical Press on September 19th – here’s the blurb & buy link:
Nightclub manager Grace Butler is on a mission to buy the pub where her
mother's ashes are scattered but the owner wants to sell to anyone but her. And that owner happens to be her father...who has a secret she
will do anything to discover.
Social worker and all around good guy Jimmy Betts needs funds to buy a house
for three special kids before their care home closes. Time is running out
and he's desperate for cash. He agrees to to a one-time 'job' for bad-man
Karl Butler. But in a sudden turn of events, Jimmy finds himself employed by
Karl's beautiful, funny and incredibly sexy daughter, Grace. Their lives
couldn't be more different, yet one thread binds them: they're both trying
to escape the bonds of their fathers. Maybe the only way they'll be free is
by being together, instead of alone.
Rachel is giving away a free download of any of her six novels including Paying The Piper to a random commenter – here is her website and contact addresses to find out which one you would like. Rachel has written everything from romantic suspense, to romantic comedy, contemporary and Victorian historical – enjoy!!