How to Find a #Critique Partner and Set Ground Rules

If you’re writing for publication and have yet to share your work in progress with someone who can provide constructive feedback, you’re doing it wrong. Chances are, you feel at a loss for how to find a critique partner. Maybe you’re the type of writer who feels your work is good enough without the time and hassle required to exchange drafts. Think again. As writers, we are generally too close to our material to notice its flaws. Even though writing is often a solitary endeavor, it is the reader who is the final judge.

A defensive, yet natural, tendency exists for the writer to blame the reader for not “getting it.” If multiple readers notice similar critical issues with your work, then it’s time to take the necessary steps to bring a new level of polish to your work. I previously posted a critique sample of how I provide feedback to a client. Before even dreaming about hiring a professional, a writer should seek the advice of one or more critique partners.

Image of Woman Reading a Book

How to Find a Critique Partner

Critique partners agree to exchange drafts in order to provide each other with constructive criticism. It might be someone you’ve met in person or someone you met online. Always remember that the more you critique the works of others, the better you will become at judging the quality of your own work. A relationship with a critique partner offers the stability of frequent and regular feedback.

#1: Utilize Critique Partner Websites: Numerous sites exist such as Ladies Who Critique, How About We CP, CP Seek, Critique Circle, or Absolute Write Water Cooler. I’ve only dabbled in exploring such sites, but it’s great to know so many options exist.

#2: Join a Writer’s Association: Take advantage of the many resources offered by a local writer’s organization. It will be well worth the yearly fees. At least year’s PNWA conference, a bulletin board was set up so writers could advertise for CPs. The Seattle-based groups don’t currently work for me, but networking is always a good thing.

#3: Advertise on Social Media: It never hurts to ask. Put word out on your various social channels. Since I made the decision to devote my efforts to writing and editing full-time, this is how I found one of my first critique partners. I was amazed that a good number of people responded, but I had to pick just one.

#4: Ask a Fellow Blogger/Writer: The partner I’m currently exchanging drafts with was someone I had known for many months as a fellow blogger before we even broached the possibility of exchanging drafts. I also found another great CP when a popular writer opened up her blog comments to aide everyone in their search.

#5: Get Thee to a Workshop: Participating in a writer’s workshop brings many rewards, though it’s not uncommon to feel frustrated with the typical format which allows work to be critiqued sporadically. A college-level writing workshop is also a great place to meet potential CPs. If all else fails, start your own writer’s group whether online or locally.

It’s ridiculously easy to avail one’s self to all the resources available. All if takes is a few simple searches on Google or Bing. Like anything, the learning curve can be steep at first as new habits are formed. Your writing will thank you for it.

Picture of Stupid Hurts Sign

Setting Ground Rules with a Critique Partner

How to find a critique partner is usually much easier than finding one that meets your goals as a writer and who also meshes with your personality. The following should be considered:

#1: Partner Suitability: Make it known what level of experience you desire as well as what genres you are comfortable critiquing. Writers of genre fiction vs. literary fiction may or may not be the best match. It’s also good to note the level of sex, language, and violence the potential CP tends to incorporate.

#2: How Often and How Much: Weekly exchanges can be great but a bit intense. Exchanging every two weeks is a better bet. A bare minimum could be one exchange a month. It’s better to go with a word count limit as opposed to number of chapters. I’m okay with anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 words per exchange, but your limit could differ.

#3: Feedback Delivery: The optimal way to provide comments is to use Word’s commenting feature. It’s much easier to read than handwritten comments, plus it doesn’t change the document’s word count like inserting comments within the text can. Typed notes that refer to page and paragraph numbers prove cumbersome.

#4: Time Commitment: In general, plan to spend one to two hours making comments with each exchange. The number of comments made in the margin will vary greatly. While I would love to fill each page with comments down the margin like I do with client’s, it’s just not possible for the time I can give to the task. 

#5: Type of Comments: Focus on asking questions that center on story elements rather than spending time tinkering with your partner’s sentence structure. For the most part, I fix small typos without a second thought, but unless a sentence is really awkward, I leave it alone. Critiquing and copy editing are two different things.

Always reserve the right to discontinue a partnership. You’ll know if it’s not working, so start each new partnership as a trial run. Reasons to break it off with a partner are many. For example, constant emails seeking feedback at the drop of a hat can cause a relationship to sour. Also, if the amount of feedback received is continually less than what you provide your partner, it’s time to move on.

What resources have you used to find a critique partner? What works and doesn’t work for you when seeking feedback on your writing?

Image Credit: Woman Reading a Book by Petr Kratochvil

Permission must be granted by JeriWB to use the “Stupid Hurts” image in this post.

Article by Jeri Walker-Bickett aka JeriWB

Author: Jeri Walker

Need help writing that book blurb, bio, or newsletter? Give your book the attention it deserves. Book your copy edit, manuscript critique, or proofread today. Make every word count.

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91 Comments

  1. All very good points. You also have to have a thick skin to accept criticism. Sometimes feedback hurts no matter how gently it is given. Big sigh…. Love your sign!

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    • Cheryl, feedback does indeed hurt–sometimes more than others. In the end, I relish it because I want my work to be the absolute best it can be. It’s also important to realize which types of advice to take with a grain of salt.

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  2. Recently, a fellow blogger and I hooked up to do critiques on each others work. We don’t think exactly the same way or even live in the same country (US and Canada). However, I have found that this works to my advantage and from what she has said in emails, it’s working for her too. Each time we send a piece to the other one, we specifically list what we want the other one to critique. After all, the 2nd draft needs different things than the 5th one does.

    Yes, having a writing buddy/critique partner is a must in my opinion.

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    • Glynis, I’m glad to hear you’ve found a critique partner. My current CP lives in Germany, but I might get to meet her when I go to Oktoberfest this fall. I usually don’t seek specific feedback on first (and often second drafts as well), but now that I’m at the third draft of my novel, I am amassing a long list of questions I will pose to my beta readers. I haven’t had the time to focus on finding the right critique group here in Boise since I’ve been swamped with other things. It’s beyond awesome that we can find critique partners online for the times when meeting in person just isn’t possible.

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  3. Good post, Jeri. I’ve been in a critique group for several years now (it’s been so long, I don’t remember exactly when we started). Members have come and gone, but the core group has remained constant. I look forward to our meetings (every two weeks) and can’t imagine publishing without their input. The group has evolved from unpublished to all of us being pubbed in some capacity, and it’s been fascinating to watch how everyone works the biz. I highly recommend finding more than one critique partner–and include writers in genres you normally don’t read. I never would have included as much romance in my thrillers if it weren’t for the romance writers in my group. I think it adds another layer that appeals to readers I wouldn’t have attracted if I didn’t.

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    • DV, that’s a good point about including writers in genres you don’t normally read. The writer’s group I attended when I lived in Charlotte consisted mostly of sci-fi and fantasy writers, but they gave me great ideas about how to make my literary-inclined fiction more reader friendly to wider audiences. On the flip side, I would always be the one pointing out ways to play up imagery and deepen thematic elements. It’s always inspiring to get with a group who is passionate about writing, even if they write in a very different genre. Last year at the PNWA conference, I sorta drug my feet about attending a panel of mystery writers, and then it turned out to be one of the best that I went to. A person can never be sure about where great insights into the craft will come from.

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  4. Actually, this never occurred to me as something to do! Since having my publisher edit my book, it seems this kind of thing would be a great idea. Now it’s finding that partner. Thanks Jeri.

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    • Pat, once you find a few critique partners, you’ll wonder how you wrote without one. While I am great at editing other’s work, I can’t say the same for my own work. I’m a very jumbled, messy drafter. Having a CP give me feedback definitely speeds the revision process up.

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  5. Thanks for the group links. Sometimes you would think everyone knows the easy stuff. And on those times people come along to prove that wrong. It actuallt hadn’t occured to me to look for any links like that.

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    • Of course I am referring to the partner website links. (Realized I sounded a bit like a madman in the first post.)

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    • Jon, I’ve only dabbled with SheWrites so you’ll have to let me know how it goes if you try any of the others. From what other commenters have written here, it may be a bit difficult to find quality feedback in such groups if the member isn’t used to the give and take required by the process. Too many people want feedback, but are unwilling or don’t know how to properly give it. It’s a process that must be learned, and it gets better with time. A couple of my CPs were too green for what I was seeking, but I’m sure they went on to find better fits.

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  6. I don’t know where I’d be without the critique group that I am in here in Charleston! I’m the newest and a latecomer. They met through The South Carolina Writer’s Workshop and formed their own small critique group. I was luck to have been granted access! Agree with all that you say. rules are good (ours are kind of loose) but it helps to let them know exactly what you are seeking? Are the characters well rounded, or do you see weaknesses in the plot…etc. BUT I do have to say…some of the most brutal threads I have ever been involved in were in Absolute Write Water Cooler.They weren’t constructive, but punitive to the extreme. I think what I learned from that was to “know” your partners. Great advice Jeri!

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    • Jacquie, thanks for the heads up about the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I think those sites are a good starting place for newer writers who will hopefully find their way to better (and more helpful) pastures. I’m as old school as they come having participated in too many workshops to count that follow the guidelines set forth by the Iowa Writers Workshop.

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  7. I am not a writer but I have thought about hiring someone to critique my blog site. We all have weakness and strengths. I can come up with the ideas but putting it to paper, and in this case in WordPress, is another story. We all see things differently whether good or bad. Finding the right person who gets what you are putting across I think is another hurdle.

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    • Arleen, critique partners prove valuable when it comes to all forms of writing. The blogging group I meet with every two weeks is currently critiquing each other’s blogs using a score sheet that I devised. Finding the right audience for your blog posts and books is always a challenge. Occasionally,I come across a member of a writing group who cuts everything down that isn’t in their preferred genre. Those types are pure poison. I readily admit I’m not the biggest fan of certain genres, but I always feel there’s something to be learned about conventions, etc.

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  8. Jeri, you continue to pour wisdom into my bottomless reservoir of ignorance. Critique Partners and Ground Rules is yet another example of well stated practical advice. Interesting that apart from the specifics of Word commenting, every last drop of it would apply equally well to any other type of partnership. I am still at the stage where I post a first draft blog and then duck but when I evolve to more durable material will 100% follow your guidance. Thanks !

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    • Paul, even your blog comments make me laugh. Based on your own posts, I think it’s safe to say you do not have a “bottomless reservoir of ignorance.” Rather, you have the best, and most active type of mind that can mull any topic over from numerous angles. That ability would make you so great at giving writers feedback.

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  9. The best critique partners (in my experience) don’t offer a lot of advice about how to improve a section (or sections). They just highlight what works and what doesn’t and let me figure out how to fix it. I can’t imagine not having early readers! Good post!

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    • Jan, everyone does indeed develop their own approach. Sometimes I cringe that I subject early readers to my messy drafts, but another great part of having a critique partner is that it sets a deadline in place I can strive for. Otherwise, I will invent excuses to not get the writing done.

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  10. Really great info, Jeri. I had no idea there are sites that will critique one’s work. I will have to check those out. I do believe in having someone critique my work – many of my networking friends are copyrighters and will usually do it for free for me. But, I am definitely going to check out those sites. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!

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    • Laurie, the sheer number of web resources available to writers can be overwhelming. I’ve been pretty lucky overall in the critique partners I’ve come across online, but it seems just as many people have stories of partnerships not working out. I guess that’s the trade off for being able to find a few good ones.

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  11. Thanks Jeri – I`m just putting together an ebooklet and have always had family or friends critique it, never thought there were groups out there to do it. Am going to bookmark this.
    Lenie

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    • Lenie, unfortunately family and friends don’t often give helpful enough critiques. My husband has had the second draft of my novel for about three weeks now, and he’s barely made a dent in it. In the future, I probably won’t share a draft with him until I’m ready for beta readers.

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  12. Jeri — I don’t have a critique partner. Because I write on a variety of subjects I wonder if that would make it difficult for a partner. I don’t tell stories and I think the advice you gave Jon works well when you’re writing fiction. Something for me to ponder, though.

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    • Jeannette, many critique partners do prefer to stick with a certain genre, or help their partner exclusively with fiction or biographical writing. I’m odd in that I can and will critique anything, though I do like to pair with a partner who is working on fiction if that’s what I’m currently working on. If I was partnering with someone for technical writing feedback, literary journalism, or academic writing I would probably cut the amount exchanged down.

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  13. Jeri, these are great tips. Finding critique partners can feel hard, but you’d be surprised how many people are willing to exchange.

    I think of critique partners as different from beta readers, as they tend to read in smaller chunks (as you suggested 5,000 to 8000 words (fine for a short story, but choppy for a novel). I think it’s good to start as critique partners first with smaller chunks, before asking someone to read an entire manuscript. That way you get a feel for your compatibility with the person.

    As always, interesting post.

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    • RJ, I’ve done much more critiquing than beta reading so it will be interesting when it comes time to find beta readers for my novel later this year.

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  14. Great article!

    When I first started writing, I didn’t know where to get feedback from. A friend of my sis-in-law read my first draft and gave me a lot of good beta information, but I didn’t know where to go from there. Then I stumbled upon Ladies Who Critique after searching online and found myself a few good matches. It’s nice when you click with someone.

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    • Loni, that’s great that you found some good matches online from a website like Ladies Who Critique. You write in a genre that allows for more options when it comes to picking the right people for feedback. Literary fiction tends to put some people off, but it just makes me more appreciative of the ones I’ve found.

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  15. Great advice. I actually never knew these sites existed so will take advantage of them as I would like to evolve and improve my writing.

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    • Tim, critique sites are worth the effort to look into. So much help is available for those who take the time to seek it out.

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  16. What a great post, Jeri! I never thought it is an option to have a critique partner the way you describe here – and like some said before me, i too had no idea there were such groups out there. I am bookmarking this post, thanks for the great tips!

    It brought up a question though – as i am not a writer per se, i am not sure what type of critique i can bring to the table… I mean, i would be great into looking into blog posts, white papers and other materials that have to do with marketing and/or business… But i don’t think i’d be valuable in any way for a “real writer” who writes novels, or stories, or any type of fiction books. Do you think the whole critique partnership could work in this case and how? Maybe it’s a good follow-up post on this one 🙂

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    • Diana, you are a “real” writer! Critiquing would work just as well for the types of things you write as they do for those who write creatively. The key is in finding a like-minded partner who was working on similar things.

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  17. These are great pointers – finding someone who can provide constructive criticism – and learning what constitutes constructive criticism – are two of the biggest favours writers can do ourselves. I recommend joining a writer’s circle if possible – it’s good to hear a handful of sets of criticism (especially if you’re not used to it), so that you can hear a range of opinions and learn to recognise criticism that gels with you and dismiss that which doesn’t, plus it’s a good way to get to know a potential critique partner before asking if they want to go steady!

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    • Claire, it’s been hit and miss for me in terms of finding a critique circle since I moved back to Idaho, but I was able to take many writing workshops in college, which really helped in cementing how to give and receive feedback to follow writers.

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  18. I didn’t know about critique partners although I do informally exchange with other writers. Like many, I am a good proof reader – of other people’s work – and unreliable on my own. Of course we overlook our own errors although not on purpose.

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    • Beth, try being an English teacher and making mistakes when writing on the board. I used to do so and it would drive students crazy. All the better to drive the point home that we all make mistakes and can stand to have another set of eyes on our work.

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  19. I know this is something I need to do. With all that is going on in my life right now and consolidating two households, I’ve had little time to consider where to start. What this post does do, is give me a great outline of where to start and how to go about finding a good partnership with a critique partner. 🙂

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    • Susan, you could either start with a critique partner or possibly dabble with a writer’s circle where you wouldn’t have to come to the meeting every time. That way you could ease into the process and learn a lot by observing others in action. Once you start looking into it, you’ll be amazed at how many permutations exist for giving fellow writers feedback.

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  20. This sounds like a great system. I think it is really important to have someone with fresh eyes view your work. That being said, I rarely show anyone mine! I think having a critique partner would be ideal. I think I would only like to do it with someone who writes in a genre that I enjoy, as I know from experience that editing a manuscript that I find dull is really challenging!
    I wasn’t aware of Word’s commenting feature, thanks for sharing that Jeri! 🙂

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    • Christine, Word’s commenting feature is such a great tool. It doesn’t take too long to get accustomed to using. I don’t think I will ever be tempted to do handwritten comments ever again 😉

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  21. You have the most awesome suggestions and input, Jeri. Always. Obviously I’m not a writer in your caliber or of the many people you have here. But, I do like to write and gobble all of this stuff up that you offer. Sometimes I ask a friend to “filter” a post before I publish it. That’s worked out really well. My filter (step father) passed away last October. Huge loss for me personally on many levels. But, for writing purposes he caught so many things. I did read everything you wrote here. I just don’t have anything specific to comment on other than thank you 🙂

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    • Mike, writers of all calibers can contribute from the feedback process. It can be hard when two mismatched people pair up as partners, but in a writer’s circle, it’s quite refreshing to have a good mix of skill levels.

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  22. Great advice, Jeri. I tried an online critique group and gained valuable feedback and insight: scribophile.com
    It’s set up so you have to give before you get, which is fair. They have genre groups and chat rooms. One of the things I liked about it was that I could do it on my own schedule–faster or slower as my writing progress allowed. There’s something about having strangers critique your work–no history or preconceived ideas about you or your work. That said, I do miss being in a group but no time for that just now; no time for fiction just now.

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    • Jagoda, thanks for the heads up about scribophile.com. I’ll take a look at it and bookmark it for later use. It’s good to know the user can set their own pace, plus the idea of strangers going over my work who have no pre-conceived notion of who I am or what I do is immensely appealing.

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  23. Great post, Jeri. I shall definitely share it. What’s been most beneficial to my career as a writer has been joining writers’ assns as you mention in your list of points. There, you have built-in feedback, support, and friendship.

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    • Doreen, I’m glad I joined PNWA last summer. It will be an even more beneficial asset once I move to Seattle at some point in the future.

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  24. Hi Jeri; You did a great job covering the topic. I have to confess that I never use a writing partner in my blog posts. I do have one very close friend that i have known for years who I sometimes send critical emails to before sending them out. and that was a good point that at some point the author may have to end the partnership or at the very least tell your editor that you have decided not to take their suggestions. thanks, max

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    • Max, like any business relationship, critique partners also have to concede to the need for things to come to an end. Usually, writers will just drift out of touch after a project ends. Other times, it’s necessary to cut the relationship off. I’ve only had to do it once, and it turned out okay on both sides.

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  25. You’ve covered all the bases with this post, Jeri. I also think that one can outgrow their critique partners, not neccesarily in writing skill level, but in a variety of ways, e.g., commitment level, output level, etc. The group may be really comfy, but sometimes comfy can mean stagnation.

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    • Laura, I’ve had that happen. While it can be great to get together for dinner and wine, there can come a time when the writing talk starts to take a backseat.

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  26. These are great points in finding a critique partner, and even better for setting up guidelines. Some of the websites you listed, one in particular, writers should watch out for regarding assistance. There are plenty of blowhards out there pretending to be great writers who want to nurture the novice writers, but they wind up being full of it. This can truly inhibit a new writer.

    Critique partners are very important. I have one fabulous ‘one,’ and I’m always on the look out for more. I’ve posted on several sites looking for more critique partners. Unfortunately, living in Germany kind of restricts my options. I’d love to go to a workshop or join an association, but they’re mainly geared toward the U.S. I did post something on The Local forum, a German newspaper in English, to see if anyone was interested in a creative group. Only one bite and that fell through.

    The difficulty I have in finding a critique partner is the genre. It’s amazing how many sci-fi, paranormal, horror and fantasy writers there are out there. Maybe I’m looking in the wrong places.

    Thanks for this valuable post.

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    • Denise, I can see how living in Germany can hinder finding an in-person group. Past experience has taught me that juggling three critique partners at once can be a bit taxing, whereas two feels about right. I know exactly what you mean about the number of sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy writers. I would not make the best CP in those genres either.

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  27. Excellent advice. Critique partners sounds amazing… I´ve been told there is a community call Beta Readers is truly helpful to both freelance and published writers. Have you tried it?. Best wishes, Aquileana!

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    • Aquileana, I don’t remember coming across a site called Beta Readers, but I may have in my many searches. I think I’ll give it a search now. Thanks for telling me about it.

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    • Aquileana, I don’t remember coming across a site called Beta Readers, but I may have in my many searches. I think I’ll give it a search now. Thanks for telling me about it.

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  28. Interesting post Jeri. I belong to a writers group that meets monthly and have found it very useful. I can relate to what you said about the more you critique others the better you are at judging your own work. I am now in my fifth month wintering away from my writers group and I miss it. I never considered a one-on-one writing critique partnership, It is something I will look into.

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    • Donna, I miss the writing group I had in Charlotte as well. Just when I was getting into a good habit, I had to move again. A one-on-one partnership can be fruitful as well, but in different ways. I do enjoy the interaction that takes place during in-person group critiques.

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  29. When I’ve ventured outside my close circle, I’ve had terrible experiences. One writer asked me to exchange chapters and NEVER sent one. Her notes on mine were very superficial and I didn’t want to spend time nudging her to write — which is, in retrospect, probably what she wanted.

    It’s hard to find someone on an equal footing. But after reading this post, I may try again.

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  30. I totally don’t have the skin to be criticized but I am good at seeing others point of views.

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    • Krystle, in time it becomes easier to take criticism from fellow writers, especially when it’s a two-way exchange. It’s all just part of the process of making a piece of writing as good as possible.

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  31. Brilliant advice and great leads for writers. I recently suggested to a new writer that she should share her work with a reader group prior to going to an editor and she point blank said she didn’t care about what readers might think. I ended he conversation and noted to my husband later that I hoped she was writing a diary not a book. 🙂

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    • Debra, your example gave me a chuckle. It’s the classic case of a writer who doesn’t realize the whole creative transaction of telling a story isn’t complete until it makes it into the hearts and minds of readers.

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  32. If I decide to write a book I will use these tips to help me find a critique partner.

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  33. Excellent advice, Jeri. Feedback is essential. As you know I read a lot and it really annoys me when famous writers have not got a place they describe right, get names wrong and other mistakes. It’s easy for them to do their research and get a critique partner as a ball plank. If a scene takes place in central London, UK,do make sure the streets you describe really look like you imagine they do. If you don’t know, find someone in central London to be your critique partner.

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    • Catarina, I got really annoyed when I read The Help. It was such a popular book, but the author took liberties with historical details. It didn’t strike me as artistic, but ignorant on her behalf and on the behalf of those who helped get the book into print.

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  34. You mentioned the Seattle groups don’t work for you. Is that where you are based? You bring up a great point of critiquing others work as a way to better your own. I haven’t really thought about that before. I’m very lucky to have a friend who edits my posts. She feels bad if she has “negative” critiques. I tell her to lay them on me. It makes my writing stronger, which I need.

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    • Christina, I’m a member of PNWA and will be attending the annual writing conference for my second time this summer, but currently live seven hours from Seattle.

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  35. If I bring things to critique group that I feel are perfect, I am bound to be disappointed in comments or suggestions. Or if I bring things containing sensed weaknesses that I hope to get away with. But when I bring something that doesn’t satisfy me, the group’s comments feel positive and helpful, even if they miss the mark.

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    • Louise, sharing my writing for critique is always a double-edged sword. I always come in thinking it’s pretty good, and then the group inevitably helps make it so much better. Which is why it’s so important to share writing at all stages of the process.

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    • Louise, sharing my writing for critique is always a double-edged sword. I always come in thinking it’s pretty good, and then the group inevitably helps make it so much better. Which is why it’s so important to share writing at all stages of the process.

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  36. I don’t like the idea of having just one person critique my work since this is too limiting. Several opinions are better than just one, don’t you think?

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  37. I belonged to a writers’ group that usually had 4 to 5 members. When we met, to present critiques of each other’s work, we had a facilitator — a published writer. In addition to critique-ing us herself, she also helped move us along and to focus our discussions. I moved away geographically, but it might be time for me to find or start another group. I’d do it on line except that I already probably spend too much time keeping the dog company. (PS: He’s a very cute dog).

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    • Suzanne, isn’t it great when a group has a clear facilitator? If not, I’ve always found there are two or three people who vie to direct things, and each tries to direct in a different way. I won’t join a writer’s circle unless it follows the Iowa Writers Workshop format. The system works for a reason 🙂

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  38. Ground Rule #4 would be the most difficult part for me – with limited time available, how to choose what needs commenting on and what to ignore? I think I would be at constant risk of straying into editing rather critiquing, too. Sounds like it could be a tricky relationship to manage!

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    • Wendy, once you develop a pattern, sticking to just critiquing usually isn’t too much of an issue. It also helps to find someone who is a good fit.

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  39. First, I LOVE your new blog layout and tagline. Perfection. Very pleasing to the eye.

    The scariest thing I ever did was hand my WIP to beta readers. I seriously think I almost threw up. BUT – it was such a valuable experience. I know now which ones I’d use again, and who I should skip next time, and it’s all based on the quality of the feedback. Some people are better at that than others, but to be fair, not all my beta readers were writers. I wanted a true reader’s opinion, but I got “Yeah, I loved it,” which is great for my ego, but then she was hesitant and wishy-washy with my specific feedback questions. Lesson learned.

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    • Beth, I like the new layout too. Now I just want too see if I can get someone to help me make the font a wee bit bigger. I’ve yet to personally go through the beta reader experience with my own work, but can’t function with out a bi-weekly exchange with a critique partner or two. I so get how much it sucks when all the feedback someone has is “I loved it.” Whenever I get this third draft of my novel done, I plan on coming up with a list of questions to help focus beta feedback.

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  40. It is very informative post for me. I have learned a lot from each advice. Reader is real judge and what he feels or the impression he gets after reading can tell the real story. Feed back is very necessary for improvement and to have criticism or to bear it, one have to have a very strong nerves and heart.
    I have also heard many writers saying that reader do not get the point. If many readers are not getting the point then surly writer have to go back and analyse writing closely.
    Having someone as Critique Partner is really nice idea but I think it is hard to find someone of same ground and is a matter of luck.

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    • Andleeb, I’m glad you found this post on critique partners useful. You’re right in noting there is a degree of luck involved in finding a truly great critique partner, but that can be said of many of the good things in life 🙂

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  41. Jeri- This is one of your best posts, best because it resonates (hate the word, but it works) with me. I’m almost ready to turn a full length play of mine (Transit of Venus) into a novel. Any interest in sharing thoughts on mutual works in progress?

    Larry

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    • Larry, I’m glad you like my advice on critique partners. By sharing thoughts on works in progress, are you proposing we start exchanging drafts? If so, shoot me an email.

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  42. Hi Jeri! The only person I have showed my writing to is my husband. He reads a ton of books and is a good writer. However, I would like to find someone else to show my work to. Have you ever been to those free-writing work shops at the public library? I have thought about trying it out. Thanks for the advice. =)

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    • Crystal, the only writing workshop group I’ve attended outside of the many I’ve taken for college workshops was one I found via site Meet-Up. Most writer’s groups welcome guests. I would encourage you to attend the one at your library to get a sense of how they operate. The best groups will follow the Iowa Writer’s Workshop format. Feel free to ask the group. If they have never heard of the Iowa Workshop, reconsider joining.

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    • Crystal, the only writing workshop group I’ve attended outside of the many I’ve taken for college workshops was one I found via site Meet-Up. Most writer’s groups welcome guests. I would encourage you to attend the one at your library to get a sense of how they operate. The best groups will follow the Iowa Writer’s Workshop format. Feel free to ask the group. If they have never heard of the Iowa Workshop, reconsider joining.

      Post a Reply

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