Partners in Fiction

Author: Anastasia V. Pergakis // Category:

I want to talk today about Crit Partners. Every writer should have at least one. I'm lucky enough to have found two!

Now, it took me a long time to find the two that I have. There were certain standards I was looking for in a partner and sadly, not everyone measured up.

First thing, I need a person that would not blow smoke up my butt. That is very important to me. Yes, getting those reviews that don't have any red marks and say "This is great!" do make me feel good. But, I'd rather have a review riddled with red marks. Why? So I can improve. I don't want to become stagnant as a writer - ever. My crit partner needed to be brutally honest with me in order for me to keep moving forward.

Second, I also needed a person that while brutal, would not be down right cruel. There is a fine line here and I hate to say that I have had some people not know this. I told them to be brutal and they were cruel instead. I simply can't work with people like that. While I am still friends with a few of these people, I don't ask them to read my work anymore.

Last, I had to have a partner who was on the same level as I am. Not in skill, but at the same point in their career. Sure, I would learn a lot from an already published author. At this point in my life however, I wanted a crit partner who was struggling with the same things I was. This way we could be encouraging to each other.

These things were important to me, but for you to find a crit partner, you have to figure out what you need or want. My two crit authors do not write the same genre that I do, but I think that works out to my benefit. You might want someone who writes the same genre as you. That's fine. Just figure out what you want in a partner then search for someone.

My two partners are different from each other but give me everything I need. C.J. Ellisson (author of Vampire Vacation) catches the nitty gritty stuff that I forget or don't pay attention to. She is really great at catching those paragraphs that are telly or sentences where the wording is confusing to the actual meaning.

J.D. Brown (author of Dark Heirloom) is great at finding those plot holes and suggesting new ways to present certain information. J.D. knows my characters almost as well as I do, so she also catches those instances where a character might do or say something they normally wouldn't. She provides me with a lot of inspiration how to show my characters' personalities the right way.

Both these wonderful people give me the perfect insights I need to polish my WIP! The three of us work well together I think. You need to find these same qualities in a crit partner. Do you get along? Can you understand each other clearly? Can you still be friends after the red marks start showing up? That last one is KEY to any crit relationship. Friendship is important to a crit partners relationship I think. Some might say that to have a crit partner, you can't be friends. I can agree with that as it is difficult to be friends AND crit partners with C.J. and J.D. But for me, it works. I love being able to hash out scenes with them and have them not be afraid to tell me I've got an idea that simply won't work. I guess I'm lucky that I found two people that I can still be friends with after the crits. Do what you think is best for you.

Find what works for you and your crit partner. Whichever way you decide, just remember that your partner is there to help you. You don't have to agree on everything. They are merely giving their own ideas and suggestions. In the end, it's your work and you don't have to change anything unless you want to. I can tell you from experience that I don't disagree with anything my crit partners say, athought it might take me a second to realize they're right.

6 Responses to "Partners in Fiction"

Renae Says :
August 24, 2010 at 8:15 AM

Great post! Finding the right crit partner is so important for your ms! And you're so right that they need to be at the same point in their career as you.

Congrats on finding two good ones! I couldn't survive without mine!

Theresa Milstein Says :
August 24, 2010 at 9:22 AM

I've been thinking about critique partners a lot this summer. I have two great ones who have improved two of my manuscripts immensely.

I also joined a critique group, but I have mixed feelings about it. Part of the reason is because I feel like we're not all in a similar place and I don't know if some of the feedback is constructive. It's tricky to get the right chemistry.

C.J. Ellisson Says :
August 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Howdy! My ears were ringing and I had to stop by . I'm sorry I've been lacking in my crits the past few weeks - it will be much better once school is in session and I get the Erotica venture off the ground.

Glad you're happy with the advice I give and I'm thrilled to be able to help.


Raquel Byrnes Says :
August 24, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Its been a few months since I started meeting with my critique partner and I have to say...I am a better writer for it. Totally hones, yet encouraging...I'm truly blesed.

James Garcia Jr Says :
August 24, 2010 at 10:00 PM

Very cool! You are right about that fine line between being good and critical and helful, and not so far that you want to throw that punch or [censored]-bomb!
Just thought I would stop by and say hello. Have a great week!

Anastasia V. Pergakis Says :
August 26, 2010 at 11:27 AM

Renae -- Thanks for commenting!

Theresa -- It is tricky to find the right chemistry. It took me years to find the two that I have now. I wish you luck with your new crit group. Just remember you don't have to agree with everything they say. Take what you need and toss the rest.

CJ -- I understand about school and all that. It's okay, don't stress yourself over it. The MS still needs a lot of work and I'm not on a deadline or anything.

Raquel -- Thanks for commenting!

James -- Thank you so much for stopping by! I haven't wanted to throw any sort of bombs at my crit partners yet, although I have shed a few tears over it LOL.

Post a Comment