Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Good Critique Partner

The subject of Critique Partners seems to be overflowing the blogosphere lately, and I have to say that it's been on my mind as well. What really makes a good critique partner? Is it someone who will rip you to shreds? Is it someone who is an expert in the compliment sandwich (compliment, critique, compliment)? Or is it something more?

This answer probably differs from person to person, but here is what qualifies as a good critique partner in my mind --

Someone Who Will Help You

I know, simple, right? But really, I think this needs an explanation becasue I don't think it's clear to everyone. A critique partner who does nothing but rip on your work is not helpful, nor is someone who does nothing but tell you how much they like something. To be a truly helpful critique partner in my mind, there needs to be a balance of both.


Let's start with an example --

CP1: This sentence is really weak, and I hate everything else about this chapter.

CP2: There is something off about this sentence but I don't know what. By the way, this is the best book ever!

CP3: I had to read this sentence a few times to fully understand it. Perhaps if you changed the wording to something more like (insert sample sentence) then I would understand it better.

Now you tell me, which partner do you want? I want #3. They are being honest with me without being rude, and they are giving suggestions so that I have an approach on how to fix it.

Which brings me to another point, I want a critique partner who is willing to brain storm with me rather than tell me something is wrong. I know there are things wrong with the book, that is why I am asking for you to help review it. You can't just point out a mistake without giving me suggestions for improvement. Otherwise, I'm stuck.

What else would you add? What makes the best critique partners?


On a completely separate note, feel free to go vote for the beginning of my book in the Project Writeway contest here. Really, go ahead and go. Now.

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