From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

From Adults to Teens and Everything In Between

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Critique Partners: A Love and Hate Relationship

I don't know about you but a critique partner is a must in my world. I love and loath these meetings with my writing girlfriend. We both work so diligently to put our imaginary worlds down on paper. We agonize over all the details and are so invested in our characters, we become emotionally tied to their struggles as our own. Then, we give them over for that trusted friend to critique, caress, question, and annihilate. We lay our souls bare and hope we don't have to "kill any of our darlings".

I look forward to my meetings with my girlfriend with nervous anticipation. I know for a fact she's going to poke the sore spots, divulge the obvious glares and call me out on the contradictions and fabrications. I know these things need to be done to make my story better. But anticipation of the pain tends to exponentially increase the awaited outcome. When you don't know about the rock from the mower that is going to hit you in the back, as you lay comfortably on your lawn chair reading a book, it is less painful than the one you see flying at you from the spinning tire of the car, passing you on a walk.

Thankfully, my friend always follows her criticisms quickly with words of praise and appreciations of my plot twists. And, I know my turn for roasting her work will come soon. Mind you, that doesn't mean I take any pleasure out of pointing out the short comings in her work. In fact, there are times when I'm more energetic about the possible plots twists she could work into the story line than she is. Those instances she must talk me back to the path she intends to meander along.

If you don't have a critique partner to bounce ideas off of, you should. Having a creative sounding board is priceless. There have been numerous times we have spent hours hashing out story lines only to discover they don't work with the over-riding purpose of the novel. Had I spent the days writing, weeks waiting for my work to be reviewed by my writing group and agonizing sessions of editing the errors out of the story I would have been truly down trodden and desolate. However, in the space of coffee and doughnuts she and I have built and torn down several possibilities before settling on the most viable scenario.

But, be forewarned, the position of Critic is not for the the light of heart. Do not choose the love of your life, best friend or family member. Nor should you choose a candidate based on convenience sake. You don't want to wake up to blue Kool-aid Powder in the shower head due to retaliation from a loved one who didn't win the word war the night before. Similarly, you don't want that treasured friend to give you negligent feed back for fear of 'crushing your dream'. You want a true Critic, who will give you the good, the bad and the un-print-worthy. This must be a person of strong fortitude, willing to do battle over purpose and plausibility. They must be able to see the weakness in your writing AND help to make your story better.

It is easy to find fault in others, it is difficult to choose the path you intend to trod.

So I would like to say Thank You!
Not only to my friend Michele D. for the late evenings at my house with thing 1 and thing 2. But also, to my Sister for having the patience to put up with my neurotic schedule and delays between submissions. I know you're dying for the end of the story!
And lastly, to my writer friends here on Fiction Flurry for letting me in on the club. Without all of your input my story wouldn't be anywhere near what it has become.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Awww....shucks! I don't know what to say...except Thanks! I think the best part of a critique partnership is having someone who's as passionate about your story as you are. Someone who can not only keep all of the characters in your story straight, but talk about them as if they are real (because they are, right?). I am so blessed! I know I look forward to our critique sessions every time, thing 1 and thing 2 notwithstanding :)


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