Saturday, September 17, 2016

What Makes a Good Critique Partner?

By Lacey Gunter

A good critique partner is worth, maybe not their weight in gold, but perhaps their weight in publishing contracts. =)

So how do you know if you have found a good critique partner? Aside from the obvious of being capable of offering you a critique in a timely manner, here are a few things I recommend looking for:

1. They write in the same genre as you and they are actually pretty good at it. This is a must people. You need someone who can offer feedback that will improve your manuscript, not make it worse. It's okay to have a talented writer outside your genre give feedback on your manuscript. But for a good critique partner, you need someone who is very familiar with the nuances, rules, styles and marketability in your particular genre.

2. They give more than just grammatical feedback.  While grammatical feedback is nice to have, a good critique partner should be more than just a proof reader.

3. They are capable of recognizing and communicating the weaknesses of your manuscript or writing. We all like a good pat on the back. It's nice. But if this is all your critique partner does, then you're wasting your time. By all means, find someone who likes your writing style. Just make sure they are also able to ask the tough questions and challenge you to think harder and write better.

4. They can recognize the strengths in your manuscript or writing as easily as they can the weaknesses.  A good critique partner should be able to find at least one thing about your manuscript that is working and should be willing to also point this out.

5. They can communicate their thoughts to you without being rude or condescending or dashing your hopes. Thick skin is a must in this industry. However, that doesn't mean you have to stick with a critique partner that only knows how to use a dagger.

6. They don't try to solve the problems for you. A good critique partner should respect the fact that this is your manuscript and you are the master of it. It's okay for a critique partner to suggest a good idea now and then, especially when you ask for it. But avoid critique partners who always have to be in the driver's seat of your manuscript.

7. They consider your feedback valuable.  If you want the relationship to last longer than a couple of critiques, make sure to find someone who appreciates your critiquing abilities as well.

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