posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy
So are you humming that old Beatles tune yet? I know I am. But this blog isn't about Lennon/McCartney tunes, or the great Beatle Tribute band I saw on my last cruise (They were called the Beatle Maniacs and they were... FAB! Sorry, couldn't resist.).
I'm writing this to say a BIG THANK YOU to my critique partners.
I currently have three critique partners and I honestly don't think I could write my books without them. At least not the books I ultimately write. I have been working with all of them for four or five years.
Not all writers use critique partners, but mine are a necessity for me. I find it very challenging to sit in front of a keyboard and monitor day after day and create words that other people will read and find at least mildly entertaining. I tend to lose my perspective rather rapidly sometimes. On any given day, I might think my words aren't bad, or are even pretty good. OR, I think they absolutely suck ditchwater! Somedays, I think all three things, usually in quick sucsession.
This is where my CPs come in. They read my chapter(s) and tell me what is working and what isn't. Sometimes they have suggestions on how to fix things, or alternative techniques I might consider. Sometimes it's enough for one of them to say, "This just isn't right." But ultimately it is MY story and MY decision...
Have I mentioned in the last five seconds how much I LURVE my CPs?!?!
Confession time, it wasn't always so. That's because I've had a lot of different critique partners and critique groups over the years. Some have been online and some face-to-face. Some were just what I needed at that point in my writing life, but alas, didn't continue to meet my needs and interests. Others... well, let's just say we weren't a 'good fit.' If only finding compatible CPs was as easy as going to the shoe store, but I digress...
My current CPs are all wonderfully supportive and each contributes something unique in her critiques. One of them is a retired English teacher, so I never have to worry about my participles dangling or my modifiers being misplaced. Another of my CPs is a retired deputy sheriff who is a wonderful resource for weapons and the like. She's also a diligent plotter who forces me to plan in advance way more than I would otherwise. And my third CP, who is only a few years older than my son, has completely different reading tastes and can always come up with a unique spin on a scene or character.
We all may be at different points in our writing and our lives, but I trust my CPs to give me their honest and constructive opinions, and I do the same for them. One of our favorite sayings is, "I cared enough to bleed all over your manuscript." (Meaning there were lots of red ink marks.) Ya gotta love a CP who will do that!
Sorry about getting that song stuck in your head, but feel free to hum along with me now (I'll be the one slightly out of tune), as I give a salute to my CPs: Jo, Cathy, and Aimee! YOU ARE THE GREATEST!
"...I get by with a little help from my, a little help from my friiieends, FRIENDS!"
What about you? If you are a writer, do you have critique partners or a critique group? If you are a reader, do you have friends who help you out at home or work? Go ahead, give 'em a shout out!