Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Critique Partner

I now have a critique partner. As I mentioned in my last post, I met with a chapter mate & friend to brainstorm for both our newest story idea. I suggested we become official CPs and she loved the idea. We agreed to meet the first and third Saturdays of the month. We met on a Saturday morning and agreed to send the other something by Sunday evening. We agreed a max would be approximately 2500 words.

What we didn't discuss was what being critique partners entailed so now I think we have to have a conversation and lay out some ground rules. Perhaps mine were set too high and hers were ... I don't know.

Granted she was leaving for the RWA conference that Monday and did not have a whole lot of time, but she took the time to read it, critique it (and I use that term loosely for the moment), and send it back.

Just FYI, I'm trying my hand at an erotic romance. And I'm excited because my new CP seems to have read a lot of those, and I'm thinking she'll be able to point out my weakness as I dip my toes.

So... I find my chapter returned and open it eagerly, hoping, expecting lots of red pen (metaphorically speaking). But no...

She's marked spelling, missing words, capital letters, etc. She's given me a basic edit. And had I been able to run my chapter through MS Word at the office before sending it to her, I would have caught probably all those mistakes myself. *sigh*

Not that I don't occasionally miss a missing word or a misspelling, and a second and even third pair of eyes for those are always welcome, but I need a critique. A nit picker, a question asker, hole poker... Someone to rip it to shreds if that's what's needed. Not a spell checker.

I didn't get a critique.

So, this Saturday when we meet I'll hand her the critique of her chapter and hopefully she won't cry. (kidding)

And then we'll have to work on what we each expect from the other in this critique relationship.

Any suggestions?


mtnchild said...

Tell her to just rip it apart spelling, grammar and all. Make sure it flows right and doesn't make the reader go "huh?" I'd rather cry now and have a best seller later, than be passified now and have a mediocre book at best.

Set some ground rules and if that doesn't work, let her know that the two of you evidently look at the word critique in different ways. Have her spell out her meaning, tell her yours and go from there.

Hope that helps a bit ...
Love you,

Regina Richards said...

"I'd rather cry now and have a best seller later"

I completely agree. A critique partner or group is a huge investment of time and energy for a writer. It needs to be worth it!