Finding a critique group/partner (I call them 'critters') is one of the most frustrating things about being a writer. Then, when you find the perfect one, and life intervenes, and they drift away.
Don't you hate when that happens?
So I thought it might help if I laid out the rules for a perfect crit partner, for those who don't know them.
- Choose someone who writes in your genre - After all, who knows the tropes, style, and rules better than them? Unless you - Choose someone who writes in a different genre - In my original crit group, the Sci-fi author taught me world-building. The Action/thriller author taught me tension and stakes. The WF author taught me conflict.
Bottom line: You'll learn something either way - don't let this be a barrier,
2. Choose someone waaaaay better than you - you get a lot out of it. Until they get bored, and tired of getting not much in return. In which case you - Choose someone who's a rank noob - and they get a lot out of it. Until . . . you get the drift.
Bottom line: Try to find someone just a bit better than you are. If you both feel this way about the other - it's a match made in heaven!
3. Make sure you can meet in person - unless they live across the country. Then you - Skype, Call, crit via email, send owls, whatever.
Bottom line: No reason in this century for logistics to be a barrier.
4. Choose someone who is a fan of your writing - because how can unmitigated praise be bad? Unless you actually care about the quality of your work (and isn't that what critting is about?) in which case, choose someone who doesn't think you're all that.
Bottom line: All that's really required are manners and mutual respect.
5. Be true to your story and your vision, regardless of feedback - I've seen more than one story lost because the author heeded every single bit of advice. Unless you - Ignore wise advice. You're the author, and you know best. In which case, you're wasting your critter's time. Oh, I see, you just came for unmitigated praise!
Bottom bottom line: NO writer can put out something worth reading without feedback. We know what we meant to get on the page, but we don't have the objectivity to discern if we accomplished that. Finding your perfect critter isn't easy, and when you do, there's no guarantee it's permanent.
It's normal to be transitioning at all times, into and out of critting relationships. Don't be afraid to get out of a bad one, and continue to take risks, getting into new ones. Trust me, it'll be worth it.
Because a perfect critter is as rare and elusive as a unicorn,
but wow, are they worth the search!
So tell us, how do you feel about your critting relationships - the good, the bad, the ugly!
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She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America® RITA® award in the Best First Book category.
Laura began a video blog for writers, answering their burning questions. You can watch all the episodes HERE. If you have a question you'd like her to address in a future episode, leave her a comment!
Did you know Laura teaches craft classes? Check out her upcoming ones, both online and in person, HERE