Thursday, April 18, 2013

A to Z Challenge: Partners (And a crit partner match-up)

Writing is a solitary endeavor. It's hours and hours of drafting away alone until you come to the end. After the first few drafts, though, you're going to need partners.

Not after the first draft. Not after the second draft. You need to edit as much as you can until you can't see anything wrong with the story.

And then you send it out to crit partners or beta readers. Not your mom, sister or friend. They'll just keep saying. "That's so nice!"

Which isn't all that helpful.

You need someone who will read through a book and wonder about your character's motivation because you didn't highlight it enough. Or someone who'll spot a huge gaping hole in your story that you're so used to that it's just part of the scenery.

Good crit partners are also excellent cheerleaders. Not like your family, but they won't be out to cut down everything you've written. Unless you sent them a first draft. Which would be silly. Your partners will highlight what they like and what they want to see more of too. Those bits are really good for a writer's ego.

What do you do to have such an amazing writerly angel in your life? Easy. You do the same for them. Or at least promise to do the same once they're ready. This isn't a chore. There's something amazing about helping someone form their idea into what they want in the end. Just like they're helping with your book.

Where do you find crit partners? Well... there are websites that offer to match up crit partners. I'm sure the veteran novelists will be able to furnish some links in the comments.

I, however, try to get crit partners out of the bloggosphere. Every now and then, a blogger will give an opportunity for writers in need to advertise for a crit partner. Then, if you know the person and the story sounds interesting, you can offer to partner up.

...You know what? I think I'll do that today. In the comments, say you want a crit partner. Then give the following info:


  • Genre
  • A short pitch of the book. This isn't a query pitch, so don't worry about it being perfect. Just try to get the point across. Try to keep it under 50 words. 
  • State whether you prefer sending out whole books or a few chapters at a time. 
  • What are your writing strengths? (These also gives your partner an idea of your critting strengths.)
  • What are your writing weaknesses? (So people have an idea of what you need.)
  • E-mail address. To those of you new to blogging, please use the following format so as to avoid spam: name(AT)domain(DOT)com/co.country code.
So... who needs crit partners? Don't forget to check the comments as well as leave your details. Mail who you think you'll like and do a trial run of the first three or so chapters. Also, don't be afraid to crit outside your genre if you enjoy reading it. But make sure your prospective partner enjoys your genre too.

Who has tips on crit partnering? Any good websites to find crit partners? 

20 comments:

YVONNE LEWIS: said...

More excellent tips, there is much more to writing than one thinks.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I found my critique partners by putting out a call for help on my blog two years ago. I was overwhelmed! I already had two test readers - they were friends, but believe me, brutally honest. Between those five, I have an awesome team.

Karen Tamara said...

Genre: YA Dystopian. (Parallel Universe)

Pitch: During a punishment at a center for out of control teens, Margo disappears into thin air. She wakes in a new place that is a mix of old world morals—where every sin is punishable by prison—and advanced technology. Amish country meets Minority Report. Margo takes refuge with a gang of hillbilly boys “Unplugged” from society. They have dangerous plans to fight the government. Margo must decide if she wants to stay and fight or return home, but her choice may be taken from her.

My strengths: I think I’m good at creating believable, multi-layered characters.

My weaknesses: Commas! Lol. Also, I think I sometimes forget to describe the scene because I’m so focused on the character.

I’d like to do a few chapters at a time just to see if we are compatible. I have thick skin, but constructive criticism is always the key.

I have an agent and I am currently out on submission for another novel. (Yay!) My agent has read this novel and has given me her notes. I’m looking for someone to give it a thorough look before I send it back to my agent.

Any one interested can reach me at: kdrose72 (at) gmail (dot) com
Sorry, Misha, about the long comment, and thanks for this opportunity!

Karen

Andrea said...

So tempting... (so chicken)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I have had one crit partner, and I was about to e-mail her today. I would love to have a second. I prefer to share chapters at a time, and not the whole book, and I need help with description that fits into the pacing of the action and dialogue.
My second book in a trilogy, Champion in Flight, is the one I'm looking for a crit partner for right now. It's Christian fantasy. I also write scifi and other fantasy stories (less noticeably faith based).

Rena said...

finding those crit partners is hard, but you sort of collect them over time (and I love mine!)

C. Lee McKenzie said...

Great idea, Misha and kind of you to offer this to your readers. I have a great group of readers and I don't know what I'd do without them.

Beth said...

Genre: Contemp romance
Pitch: It's a forbidden romance between an Iraq war refugee and a white girl in a military town. I can't say much more than that because it's a companion to a book in acquisitions right now.
Strenghts: Plot, characterization, emotions
Weakness: use of language, showing, grammar
I prefer to exchange the whole book but I'd like to start with a 10 page trial first to make sure we're a fit.
email: bethfred08(at)gmail.come

nutschell said...

Crit partners are so important. I found mine through the writing group I founded :)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

Carol said...

I'm not a writer, but I can totally see the importance of having a good crit partner.

Carol's Notebook

M.J. Fifield said...

Honest crit partners and betas are vital. I read a lot of pages for members of my local writers group. I guess it's helpful because they keep asking.

Carrie-Anne said...

I've had a bunch of failed connections and no connections at all the usual sites people suggest—Absolute Write, Ladies Who Critique, etc. I feel like if I wrote a more popular genre, like fantasy or YA contemporary, I'd have people beating down my door. I've gone to boards that are still regularly active, and no one there seems to be looking for historical CPs, unless they're writing something like historical fantasy.

I need a CP who's serious about the historical genre, understands that many historicals traditionally are sagas, not all of 300 pages, and is familiar with how third-person omniscient works. It's not "head-hopping" or "telling" necessarily, it's just how that POV functions.

Al Diaz said...

I have one who I trust. He has helped me a lot. I know I need more than one but I'll look for more when the time comes.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

Partners are a great help.

Sarah said...

Partners are so important! I'd be nowhere today without my crit group. I was darn lucky to find them...good luck to everyone looking!

Romance Reader said...

CP's and beta readers are worth their weight in gold! You are giving an awesome opportunity to fellow writers.

Nas

sydneyaaliyah.com said...

First of all, Nicole, thanks for doing this.

I have two great CP, but they aren't in my genre. Would love to see what someone who write NA Romance or Women's Fiction thinks of my latest.

Genre: NA Romance, Women's Fiction or Chicklit

Pitch: Long triangle between Alex, a strong willed young lady with father abandonment issues, Lance, a marine corp solder whose questions he purpose and Chay, a professional photographer whose trying not to disappoint the people who believe in him.

I can do whole book or chapters.

The beginning and the ending need work and I need to be more descriptive.

sydliyah(AT)hotmail(DOT)come

If you write the same genre, I welcome some constructive criticism. I don't get my feelings hurt. So, let me have it.

Rachna Chhabria said...

I have three crit partners. Each has their individual and unique strengths. Two for my MG books and one for my PB books.

Medeia Sharif said...

What a great idea. I found my CP's in a local writing group. I'm so glad I have them in my life.

shelly said...

I found my critters via FWA. But we've disbanded a couple months ago b/c we all had personal issues going on. I hope we can get back together. Or I'll be looking. We were together for 5 years.

Hope all is well with you.

Hugs and chocolate,
Shelly