Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Critique Partners…How it Improves Your Own Writing and Karma

Ever get one of those friendly invitations from a fellow author to swap stories and critique each other’s work? Perhaps you’ve declined due to being too busy or just plain wondering what good your own advice would do anyone? Well, today I’d like to encourage you to ignore all those doubts and say “yes” to critiquing your fellow author’s work.

I’ve been swapping stories recently with several great bloggers/writers and have enjoyed reading everything from novels to short-stories from their works-in-progress. Not only by critiquing each other’s work can you help your fellow authors, you’ll also improve your own writing in the process. I’ve found that some of the very same suggestions I offered to other writers turned out to be the very same alterations I required in my own manuscript or short-story.

So, I know this is the equivalent of jumping into a pile of dry leaves with a wet sucker, but who else wants to swap stories? Interested in getting some much needed feedback on your current work in progress? Or maybe I’ve read your work before and you’ve got a rewrite for me to see? Let the good karma begin.  



  1. I'm currently rewriting, so my MS isn't ready. A great critique partner is so valuable.

  2. Hmm.....am just wondering what triggered this post ;)

    A great critique partner is absolutely priceless. I am grateful for all the valuable insight that you and Kim (my other CP) give me. Let me tell you the truth Mark, when I get an email from you, there is a huge smile on my face as I know you would have seen my writing through a magnifying glass. And I also know that every suggestion will get my MS closer and closer to a polished state.

  3. Hahaha the compliment sandwich. I remember them doing that on an episode of Family Guy or something. Everyone's always talking about critique partners and I know I'd really benefit from one, but since I barely have the time to write my own book with school and work, there's no way I'd have the time to do a good critique of someone else's work :(

  4. Sandwiching criticisms! Good to see that.
    I've learned so much from my three critique partners, it's amazing.

  5. Those other eyes are so important! And I like having different genders, too. Guys will sometimes pick up on things gals don't and vice versa.

  6. I was a little burned out on searching for a good critique partner on forums. No one seemed to mesh well with me (or me with them). Then I started my blog and over the year I have gotten to know some great people. I've exchanged work with a few and really enjoyed the experience. I think having a blog actually helps you find people more in tune with who you are as a writer...maybe because like attracts to like?

    And I agree that critiquing is probably one of the best ways to learn as a writer. To recognize something "off" in someone else's writing and realize you sometimes do the same thing (and shouldn't) is a big deal.

  7. Critiquing is a skill every good writer should have. We should be able to spot what doesn't feel right in another person's writing and then be able to verbalize it in a constructive way!

  8. I don't have any projects that are fit to be seen by other eyes--they're either in their raw first draft state or being rewritten. But having a critique partner sounds like a great way to improve your writing skills!

  9. It's the high-low-high sandwich!

    I love beta reading and using beta readers. It can be difficult to find good ones, but once you do, they're the best.

  10. I taught elementary school for 20 years. One would think that would make me great at the critique process, right? But, it is different when adults are on the receiving line.

    I loved the hamburger comparison!

  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

  12. Your burger analogy is perfect (and tasty).

    I would be nothing without my CPs. :)

  13. I don't get very many folks beating down my door looking for my critiquing wisdom. Which works out because I don't really have much to offer anyway. I try, but I would not call what I do successful.

    Still, a good critique partner can make you see things you never would have caught without them. They are to be valued.

  14. A good critique partner is worth their weight in gold. And you're so right--critiquing really does help your own writing as well.

  15. As soon as I have something ready, I'll be calling on you :-)

  16. I'm glad it's working for you, Mark. Me not so much. I'm such a contrary Mary. But I usually end up agreeing with everyone's crits, even the contradictory ones.

  17. Feedback is vital. In my creative writing classes, I have my jr. high students share what worked, what didn't work, and what could be improved in their classmates' stories.

  18. Miranda – They are indeed:)

    Rachna – Glad it brightens your day.

    Aubree – Got to love that compliment sandwich, we all appreciate it:)

    Alex – It does make a big difference.

    Donna – Agreed.

    L.G. – I understand the burnout that can occur. If you ever need a second pair of eyes just let me know:)

    Emily – That’s a good way to put it. That same critiquing skill directed toward others can work wonders when we direct it toward ourselves.

    Eagle – Aw, I’m sure you’ve got something. Just let someone take a peek at it.

    McKenzie – It does make a big difference indeed.

    Susan – I suppose it’s similar in some ways, but different in others. Either way, I bet you’re getting plenty of practice at it now.

    David – Yes, those tasty CPs ;)

    Rusty – I’m sure you offer great critiques. Besides the more you write the more insight you have to offer.

    Stephanie – I’ve gotten some good critiques from you:)

    Sarah – Alright, you’re on:) Just say when!

    Deborah – Well, everyone has to start somewhere. Just give it time and I’m sure you’ll find your own way of expressing yourself.

    Milo – That’s cool you’re teaching creative writing. I’d be curious to see how that effects your own work:)