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Monday, February 20, 2012

Critique Partners and Betas

If there is one constant in a writer’s world, it is the relationship of the critique partner.

The birth of a novel begins with an idea. Whether you are a pantser or a meticulous outliner, you will paint the picture of you idea with your fingertips.

After that, self-editing can only take you so far. You must have that ‘fresh eye’ to view your work.

The best critique partners and betas give honest, in depth opinions. They aren’t there to massage your ego. Their worth is in the firm and sometimes brutal suggestions.

Listen to them. Weigh their judgment against yours.
Only you know what works. Only you know where your storyline is taking the reader.

But give your CPs equal time in that inner debate. They might see something you missed.

To the CP, be honest but use tact. Give opinion but never with a slap. Do not view a crit as punishment or the chance to show YOUR ego. You are the sounding board for a writer looking for help.

Speaking from the side of a critique partner, a beta, and a writer, let me say I love to crit. It is a privilege to read our submissions.

What do you need critiqued this week? First pages? Your query? Violent scenes? Dialogue? Loglines?

Send us newborn prose or pages you've edited from earlier submissions.

We are all on the same journey and a helping hand aids all of us.


mshatch said...

I love to crit but I do worry that I sound too harsh so if I do PLEASE let me know! When critting, my goal is to help the writer see what I'm thinking as I'm reading. When receiving a crit, I do my best to listen. I've often found that the most 'negative' crits have been the most helpful - though I hate to admit it!

Huntress said...

I have experienced nasty, unhelpful crits. ("This was a total waste of my time")

YOU are never harsh. Firm and no nonsense, truthful and always helpful.

Honesty should never be confused with negativity.
I appreciate honesty.

Angela Brown said...

I prefer honesty. I know having my ego stroked is nice but to have my story take on what I really need it to take on, I need honesty.

Sometimes it can be painful because we want to be told how great everything is. But if that happens, we won't learn nothing (I know, bad double-negative lol!!!).

Huntress said...

I use double-negatives all the time. Love 'em.

dolorah said...

I would not have my three published short stories without the honest, constructive criticisms from my partners. There is always something I miss, or can reword for greater impact.

But I also enjoy critiquing other author's work in progress. It is such fun to be a part of the writer's journey, and to watch a fledgling idea grow and develop into an amazing story. I think I enjoy the editing/revision process more than the draft stages :)


Angela Ackerman said...

I do not know what I would do without critique partners. I know people who don't get involved because they don't want to take time away from their writing to work on someone else's work, and I don't get this at all. We learn so much through the process of critiquing...everyone wins!