Saturday, August 16, 2014

Writerly Advise/Let's Talk: Critiquing Partners

Song Of The Moment - I don't care by Fall Out Boy

Notice the title, technically this is a writing post and I've started using Writerly Advise on my writing posts and technically I guess I'm both asking for and giving advise but it's also kind of a Let's Talk type post and I feel like no one was confused about this until I pointed it out. =)

My Experience With Critique Partners -

So I admit like a year ago I had virtually no idea what a critique partner was, nor how you get one. I mean I know there are Goodreads groups and the like but how do you even pick one? And there's the whole sending your writing to a virtual stranger and sure I guess there's like an honor code saying you wont steal each others ideas but the whole thing just gave me a headache.
(So if you don't know a critique partner is someone who reads your book in all it's very messy stages and critiques it)
My main critique partner is my brother. I tell him every single idea I have and we talk it through, he helps me outline, he reads everything I write first, he tells me when something is plain stupid or when I've gone to far. It's easy to talk to him about my writing and I know he'll be honest(unlike my mom, cause let's face it, even if she swears she's not lying you can never really believe her), and he gives me good feedback even when it means rewriting a whole huge part of my book. Plus you know, he understands grammar while it's my worst enemy. =) So yeah, I'm happy with him as my main critique person and like I don't have to sit around emailing him back and forth because he literally lives next door.
Now I met some pretty awesome writer friends and of course we were talking back and forth about being beta readers and critique partners(which I am terrified I will suck at) and so finally I sent them a couple chapters and everything but my question is...

How do you know you're right for each other?

I mean obviously you need to trust your critique partners and their opinions, trust that they are being honest and like I mean, they have to like the genre your writing I feel. I mean if I'm writing a fantasy book and my critique partner has never read a fantasy book in their life I feel like that may hinder the critiquing process. You have to like the person, obviously, if you hate them they everything they say, you just wont take seriously. But what else determines if you're a good fit?
The thing is the feedback I got back from all three of my cabin mates was helpful but at the same time while two of them just got what I wanted the story to say, like understood of them didn't. I feel like the other two understand me as a writer better but at the same time I don't want to stop sending stuff to the other just because they maybe didn't understand the feeling of the story. Because maybe that's good, maybe that shows that some readers also wouldn't get it and that I need to work on it? I just don't know.

So any advise? What do you think makes someone a good critique partner? Any opinion is helpful! Do you think I'm just overacting about this third person or does this show already that we're not a good fit? Help me

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  1. I don't think I have any critique partner, especially when I write my own stories. Sometimes I keep them to myself just for the heck of it, which I know is wrong because I don't share it haha :P

    I think a good critique person is someone who is VERY willing to read what you write. They always take interest in your writing and give prompt feedback and constructive criticism! :) Plus, they know what's best to add/delete to your writing or how to improve it. I think you should choose a person who's very appreciative with whatever you write :) Your brother sounds like a good critique, though. Find someone like him :D

    1. Haha! Find someone like him? Easier said than done I'm afraid. =)