Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Critique Partners

Today I want to talk about a very sensitive topic for me: Crit Partners. Now, if you don’t know what a Crit Partner is, it’s a critique partner - someone who critiques your work when you’ve finished a draft or while you’re writing a draft. In my case, it’s usually the latter. However, with draft two, the people that have been ‘critiquing’ it while I’m writing it (which means they’ve only been reading it), will be actually critiquing it when I’m done with it. They don’t know that yet though. Charlie is actually the first person to actually give me kinda-sorta line edits.

Now, when you give something to a Critique partner, you have to make sure that it’s someone you trust. I mean, I’ve known Charlie since January and already feel comfortable giving my work to him to read. But other people I’m very…leery to give my work to them. I suppose it’s because I once gave some of my second draft to a friend, and right after I did, he got mad at me and wouldn’t talk to me any more. I wasn’t comfortable with him having it, but he wouldn’t even let me talk to him to get it back. To this day he still doesn’t like to talk to me. As much as it hurts to ‘lose’ the friendship, it hurts even more because he still has parts of “Solace”. I mean, he’s not totally out of my life, he’ll talk to me occasionally, but he has something that I can’t ever really take back from him. Once I sent that to him, I was trusting him with it. Now, I don’t think, by any means, that he’ll do anything with it to hurt me. He’s, thankfully, not that kind of a person. I’d like to believe that he still cares about me and hopes that everything will work out for me, but even if he didn’t I don’t think he’d post it. But that fact is that he could. He could do anything with that - something could even jeopardize my chances of ever getting published. That’s what scares me and that’s why I have to make sure I trust the person. Granted, this person wasn’t a writer so they probably would never understand the ‘mother-child’ relationship with a manuscript, but still…

Which brings me to another point. If you’re going to give your work to someone to read, it should probably be a writer or someone you know will give you insightful feedback on what you’ve written. The person I gave it to that I mentioned would not be a good person to give it to, simply because he doesn’t read or write for enjoyment. A teacher (and they don’t have to be language arts teachers to do this) even could help. Just make sure they’re not just going to say “Oh, ____________ that’s great! This is perfect! It’s the next bestseller!” Because, it’s not going to be. Unless you’ve worked with editors and everyone like that, nothing you’ve written is going to be perfect. It’s just the truth of it. If you’re looking for a critique partner, look for a critique partner. Not only do you have to trust them with your work, but you have to trust them to be honest with you and you have to trust them to not be afraid to tell you what they really feel.

And remember that just because your Crit Partner says something, doesn’t mean you have to change it. Even if your Crit Partner is Stephenie Meyer, it doesn’t mean they’re always right. What you think is best goes. It’s your novel - you have to write it. Do what you think is right.

So there’s my two cents on this topic. Charlie, anything you want to add? Oh, and I stayed up so that I could post this on the 8th. I’ve got to clean all day today so I probably won’t have much time online. Yeah, that’s right, I posted before Charlie on June 8th, even despite the six hour time difference. :P

The “cuter teen” *That sounds so trivial*,