Find A Good Critique Partner

imagesFHQ2HXNTI’ve talked about critiques and critique partners in the past. If you are a new writer or want to be an author, it is important to have others review your work. Not just for the feel-good effect, but for honesty and constructive criticism.

We don’t always see our mistakes, and as a new writer, you probably don’t know a lot of things that a been around the block a few times writer knows. You are going to make the common mistakes that most newbies make.

One of the issues I ran into was finding critique partners. I have great friends but none of them are writers. Sure they could and were willing to read my work, and I had a few do just that. What they were able to do was comment on my premise and point out plot holes and areas of confusion.

What they weren’t able to do, was say hey, you have POV inconsistencies, dragging dialogue, pacing issues, info dumps…… They knew something wasn’t quite right, but they couldn’t identify the problems.

Another issue you run into is friends and family who want to encourage you and not hurt your feelings. They will tell you your work is great, even when it is lacking and you have broken every rule in the book.

So where do you go to find a true critique partner who isn’t afraid to hurt your feelings and knows what they’re looking for? I use scribophile.com. I enjoy the site. They have many published and unpublished authors working together to help each other prepare their work for publication. You do critiques for others and they critique your work. While it’s a large community, you will more than likely develop a following of two or three people who show an interest in what you are doing and follow you through to completion.

There are other sites out there, but I can’t speak for them as I have not joined their groups. You may also find critique partners in your area through organizations like Romance Writers of America, or Christian Romance Writers of America. Have you checked at your local library? Have you tried googling critique groups in your area, or online?

One caution I would offer. Remember it’s your story, a critique partner should help you catch mistakes, improve your writing,  and may occasionally make suggestions, but they should not be writing your story for you. If they are trying to change your work into something it wasn’t meant to be, you are probably working with the wrong person.

Something else to think about.

-Jan R

 

 

Find A Good Critique Partner

9 thoughts on “Find A Good Critique Partner

    1. Also, if you’re going to get feedback on your story, make sure you’ve already read through it a few times and cleaned up any obvious grammatical errors and awkward phrases. Otherwise that is what ALL the feedback you get will be about. Far better if that is already out of the way so the discussion can instead be focused on the more integral aspects of your story, such as plot or pacing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “What they were able to do was comment on my premise and point out plot holes and areas of confusion.” Even having friends who can give feedback as readers is helpful… and not very common. Lots of people can tell you, “I didn’t get it,” but not many can tell you at what point in the plot they became lost, or what aspect of the protagonist’s motivation/reaction to events didn’t make sense to them. Lots of readers can tell you, “I liked the villain better than the hero,” but not many can tell you that this happened because the villain had too many redeeming qualities for the sort of person who’d have that role in the story (not all antagonists are villains: ‘good versus good’ is a valid conflict, so antagonists can still be good/likeable people, but a villain needs to be bad), or that the protagonist was too “limp and unmanageable” and only reacted to what was happening, never taking control of his/her own life. Getting thorough and detailed readers’ reactions — both positive and negative — can be better than comments from a fellow writer on, ‘This is what’s wrong with the story, and this is how you should fix it.’

    “If they are trying to change your work into something it wasn’t meant to be, you are probably working with the wrong person.” Yes! If you’ve written a cozy mystery or a space opera, and someone says, “This would be a lot better if you added some sexy vampires,” or, “Change this to present tense — everyone likes present tense better,” that’s when should you stop listening to anything that person says about your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

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