Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Theme: Critique - The When

Let's talk about two things - when you need critique partners and when your work needs to be critiqued.

When you need CP's:

Personally, I think you need to complete a manuscript before you start rounding up critique partners. Why? Because if you haven't finished that first book, how do you know you will? And if you don't finish, you've wasted your CP's valuable time. Time is a huge commodity in this business. When someone gives you theirs, you need to know it doesn't come cheaply.

Now, if you find someone else working on their first manuscript and the two of you want to critique each other's work, have at it. Just know that's a bit like the blind leading the blind. You're both starting out. How much help can you be to one another?

When your work needs to be critiqued:

Ideally the work you turn over to your CP's should be as clean as possible. That means you don't vomit up a first draft and hand the mess over to them to clean up. A good critique partner (which is what you want to be, right?) goes over their work first, tries to find the missing words, the forgotten commas, the misplaced modifiers, the fact that the hero's name changed from Matt to Mark on page 13.

The more work you do, the less your critique partners have to. This makes their job easier and, lo and behold, the likelihood of them wanting to critique your work increases! A happy critique partner is a productive critique partner.

Lastly, and this is slightly off the "when" topic, but if your CP's point out the same things over and over...get a clue! If they tag you on constantly adverb abuse, police yourself first. A CP who can't learn gets old fast.


  1. Anonymous12:01 PM

    Another good post, Kristen :)

  2. Anonymous1:47 PM

    I totally agree, Kristen. And not only do I want the book to be finished, I want to read and critique the whole book at once. I belong to a couple of crit groups that post chapters for critting and find it very frustrating -- how can I assess things like plot holes and character arcs if I'm only reading 1/10th of the book? I usually wind up doing a line edit instead, which, while some need it, is not what is most important.