The Importance of Critique Partners

hands stacking

This Friday, I submit my revised and finished manuscript of Passage of Promise, to my editor for a last proofreading and closing comments on the improved changes (they are improvements to me!) I made.  My awesome editor will have my manuscript from November 1 to November 18.

After four years working on this novel, I’m so excited to be at this phase in my project.

BUT…

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the loyal and steadfast critiquers (called critters from here on out because that’s the nickname used in my online critique group, and I like it), who have given me many valuable suggestions, sincere comments, and thoughts on my characters and plot of Passage of Promise. It’s because of them that my story is where it is now–sharper, stronger, more moving, and powerful.

I truly believe this.

Most fellow writers who follow my blog already know the importance and value of a critter or two in helping to sculpt and carve out your stories.

But for those of you, who are new writers, or perhaps if you all are like me…always learning…you may find this post beneficial to your writing journey.

If you are starting out, and even if you’ve written stories over the past several years or decade, find yourself a good critique group, either in person or online. You can find in-person critique groups through local and state writing groups.

critique group irl

I used to be part of Pennwriters when I lived in Pennsylvania. They had critique groups. You can search the groups and other authors to find which genres match up with your own, or that you like to read/critique.

As of today, I’m part of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers (RMFW) organization/group, and I couldn’t be happier. Through them, they have workshops, critique groups, and my favorite–writers conferences.

writers conference pic

Each year, RMFW holds a writers conference in or around the Denver area, and it seems to be around September. So I’ll have to wait a bit, but that’s okay. It’s another great event to look forward to here in beautiful Colorado!

For online groups, do some research in finding the best groups for you. There are also some critique groups on Facebook that you can join if you’d like. Some are especially for finding compatible critique partners.

Whatever avenue you take in participating in a critique group, will be an experience you, most assuredly (if it’s a good group), will cherish, grow from, and learn from, which will only strengthen your writing skills and talent.

walk with others

When I get to writing acknowledgements in the opening pages or pages in the back of my novel, I will be giving credit to the critters who helped me through the revising, structuring, characterization, and plot of my story. They were part of the process, making me think, encouraging me, uplifting me, and giving me constructive criticism that caused me to go back and transform my novel that was dull and lackluster to something bright, bold, and beautiful.

**One little warning: It may take you a while to settle into the right group or partner with the right person. It’s a relationship, really, and it needs to click, where your partner appreciates your work, understands where you’re coming from, what you’re looking for (you should tell your partner/partners this from the get go, of course), and in return, respect and appreciate his/her/their work. Because sometimes you can get real bears who aren’t out to give you good, constructive criticism but rather sour, condescending critiques on every aspect of your work, wanting you to write the way they do or steer your plot in a direction you’re not comfortable with. Over time, through trial and error, you learn a whole hell of a lot on which particular critiques to accept and apply to your characters, plot, etc. and which ones to kick to the curb. Nevertheless, It’s all worth it. You learn and grow and become a stronger, more experienced, and better writer!

Now, go out there and find yourselves an awesome group of critters to walk alongside  and encourage you in your writing journey!

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