It's common knowledge that a good critique partner is one of the most important things a writer can have.
The hard part is finding one you mesh with.
For me, finding critique partners took a long time. I looked online, mostly emailing other writers on CP match-up blog posts. And out of all the writers I emailed, I think only one emailed me back--but it was to say she already had her share of CPs and wished me luck in my search. When I wasn't having any luck finding an online CP, I looked for a local in-person writing group. But I couldn't find an in-person group that met my needs.
And then one day, the amazing Brenda Drake tweeted about CPSeek. It's exactly what it sounds like--a website dedicated to finding critique partners. I signed up right away and started reading query letters posted by other writers. I was too chicken to post my own, and instead I decided to approach two writers who had posted query letters that sounded interesting. I messaged them, asking if they'd want to trade first chapters. They both agreed!
While they both had different critiquing styles, they were both kind and constructive. Knowing what kind of critique partner you want is important. I'm a tad sensitive, so I prefer CPs who are truthful but kind in their critiquing style. (Or CPs who use HARRY POTTER references in their critiques!)
Contests are another great way to find critique partners. Last year, I found two more awesome critique partners through Brenda Drake's PITCH WARS contest. Twitter pitch parties are also helpful. I haven't found CPs or Beta-readers through pitch parties, but I know people who have. (Plus they are a great way to meet new online writer friends!)
And when you find good CPs, don't let them go!
There's nothing better than having someone you can vent to, brainstorm with, or cheer for. And I know I couldn't get through revising and querying without them. And without them, I wouldn't be obsessed with DOCTOR WHO or REIGN, the sight of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Oreos wouldn't make me smile, and I wouldn't have had the guts to sign up for a manuscript critique at NESCBWI. I <3 mine and consider them all great friends.
|A, have you tried these?!|
Also, hugs and thanks to my awesome Pitch Wars mentor, Stephanie Garber! (If you're thinking about entering Pitch Wars this year, you should definitely submit to her. She's the best!)
How about you? Any CP stories? Shout outs to your awesome CPs or Beta readers?