Thursday, November 22, 2012

Why You Need Critique Partners

What are you thankful for?

Isn't that the question we're supposed to be asking today?

It's so cliche, yet so important to think about. This week there's one thing I've been predominantly thankful for: critique partners. There's absolutely no way I could have pushed through the last 10K without them.

Wait, what's the difference between a critique partner and a beta? Laura Kolar wrote about the difference in Being a Beta and I agree. A beta reader looks over your already critiqued and edited piece once or twice,  to ensure it's really finished. A critique partner is the person you can send frantic flailing arm messages to while they talk you down from the literary ledge. They're the people who happily say "Send me that kissy scene" when you try to decide if you need more kissy moments, and wonder if that one moment is too racy for YA fiction.

My critique partners are the ones who build me up when I feel exhausted with the whole ordeal. They're the ones who highlight lines that they love, who beg for me to finish particular scenes so they can see if my main characters love or hate each other now, and suggest new ways to make the flow of a scene smooth itself out. Two heads think better than one - especially when one of those heads isn't so attached to the story that they can't even imagine it any differently.

I know - it's tough to let your literary baby out into the world. I'm guilty of not wanting anyone to see my work until it's finished, edited once, and given at least one more paranoid look. However, it's best for my novel to have critical eyes inspecting it before I send it out to agents or readers. After all, it's better to get any possible changes from a friend than from an agent rejecting your piece because of them.

What are you thankful for with your current work in progress? Or perhaps the better question is, who are you thankful for?

P.S.: Thank you for having me here! I'm thankful for my first post at YAStands!


  1. I just signed my Ya Fantasy with Curiosity Quills. I never would've gotten that far without the help of my awesome cps--winks at Tonya--not only do they pick out all the silly mistakes, but knowing someone believes in your story and you, keeps you motivated.

  2. Aw! Thanks, Eliza! I'm so proud of you. Congrats, again!! xoxo

    I'm thankful for my CPs, too. I've grown so much as a writer -and and that's due to my CPs. I'm also thankful for my family. My hubs and kids believe in me, my writing, & my dream of being pubbed one day. I'm so grateful for my hubby's encouragement & support.

  3. Awesome first post Kristen! You're right! Critique partners are HUGE and it's tough to remember that they only want to make it better, instead of focusing on how many typos they have or if they'll like it. Also, Congrats Eliza!!