Lately I’ve been feeling blessed. Blessed because, over the past few months, I’ve hooked up with some amazing and skilled critique partners. I already had a number from the Singapore Writers Group, but my newer crit partner friends are fellow YA/MG writers, which is so helpful. I’ve met my new friends through contests to get mentorship from published or soon-to-be published authors, such as PitchWars and Nightmare on Query Street. I’ve also met some critique partners through Twitter pitching contests such as PitMad and PitchMAS, where you’re throwing out tweet-length pitches about your novel and hoping agents are intrigued by them. Regardless what happens in these contests, I’ve met loads of amazing writers who are very active on Twitter. Found so many people willing to look at first pages and query letters and Twitter pitches. I’ve gotten into a new critique group. I’ve connected with several talented YA writers and we’re exchanging materials. It’s amazing how supportive the writing community is on Twitter (and in general). Seriously, if you’re a writer and you’re not on Twitter, get on there! I can honestly say I would still be stuck trying to sort out my first chapters in one of my WIPs had I not met my new friends.
I’ve also been reflecting on what makes a great CP. It’s exciting/nerve-wracking to let people read our WIPs and, especially if we’re new to writing, it can be hard to find people to even read it period.
Starting with a new critique partner can kind of feel like this:
- They get excited about my WIP.
- They tell me both what’s working and what’s not working.
- They tell me what they think, even if they are worried that I won’t like it. While also offering constructive suggestions on ways to improve.
- They look at the big picture, overall plot and characterization, as well as the small picture, how individual passages flow.
- They call me out on things like cliches, repetitive word use, excessive verbiage, etc. And using colors too much, cuz I apparently throw colors around like woah.
- They ask questions about where I see things going and offer suggestions on how to get there.
- As we work together, they pick up on my strengths and struggles as a writer and help me address my weaknesses.
And there’s so many more things, which is why good CPs are worth their weight in gold. If I had to pinpoint what’s pushed me to be the writer I am today, a big part of it was hooking up with (and listening to) crit partners.
What do you think makes a good critique partner?
Post your Twitter handle below and I will follow you!