Critique Partners and the CP Visit

April 16, 2008 at 8:56 am | Posted in Bria, editing, friendship, writing | Leave a comment
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Check out Jessica’s post below on her conference experience. I’d like to second everything she said.

After the conference, my is-adorable Critique Partner stuck around for a few days to pound through some pages. It’s the first time we’ve done this and we learned a lot about structuring our visits. Here’s the Top Ten List we came up with at 1am.

  1. You never need as much junk food as you think you do when you’re standing in the grocery story
  2. Sometimes, not having the Internet is a very good thing
  3. Sometimes, not having the Internet is an absolutely horrible thing
  4. Goals. Goals. Goals.
  5. Sleep is completely overrated
  6. Sleep is your friend, try to get more of it
  7. When having to do the dreaded synopsis, having your CP sitting across the table from you waiting to see it forces you to stop crying and write the darn thing
  8. If you aren’t agreeing on a critique point, often getting away from it can make you see what your CP is trying to tell you – She’s often right, that’s why she’s your CP
  9. Don’t tie your visits around another big event – the conference she came for was great, but we focused so much of our energy on it that we were too beat to get everything out of our visit we would have liked
  10. Critique Partners are a unique relationship. I have amazing women who crit my stuff online and also my week-by-week CP, Ann. If you’re not building these relationships, get out there and do it. They are invaluable. We both agree, we learn as much working on the other person’s stuff as we do our own.

Now, stop thinking about visits and meetings and conferences, and Go Write!


Critique Partners – Creating a Successful Relationship

January 30, 2008 at 1:02 pm | Posted in Bria, career, editing, friendship, relationships, writing | 5 Comments
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Finding a Critique Partner is hard enough, but making it work (just like any relationship) IS work. The Pre-CP labor is where your partnership will be made or destroyed — you just won’t know which immediately.

I’m lucky. I haven’t been drifting along too by myselfly (yes, I know it isn’t a word, but that’s what it feels like.) Besides my fellow Heartlettes here at the blog, I’m also blessed by several women who support, guide and direct me over at the RD board. I have wonderful people who are willing to read my stuff and give me honest feedback – painfully honest feed back – just like I’m looking for.  They catch things and ask questions and point out flaws and praise and give the love.

But until I met Ann, I didn’t have anyone to do that deep-intense daily walking thing with. For the last month we’ve done a chapter each per week. We email, edit, scan, send back and discuss on Thursday night.

It’s working out really well so far and I think I know why: Planning.

Planning came in two parts. The first part I’ll call The Covenant and the second could be considered The Job Description.

Before we got started we took some time to read sites about being in a Critique Group. Together we discussed what we were looking for, what we needed, how we best worked, what would be most hurtful, rules for discussing issues, how we’d consider bringing new people into our sessions, and emergency exit strategies.

Beyond these things, we discussed expectations. What did we expect to get out of and put into the relationship? What edits, thoughts, suggestions did we want? To be honest, we’re greedy girls, we wanted everything. And to make sure it all gets covered, we have an extensive list of summary questions to answer each week to ensure that all topics get broached sufficiently.

I’d like to share with you some of the sites we used to draw up both the Covenant and JD:

Ok, here are some sites I found around critiquing —- we can pick and choose what we like:;read=295

This isn’t the complete list, but it shows a well rounded search from in-depth to chatty “did you think about this” ideas.

I strongly believe your writing life should be run like a career and so, every CP relationship should start out this way, just like a job.

Just like every other aspect of your writing, do the work. Short cuts chop off the borders of your vision where some of the most beautiful details grasp the edges.

If you’re interested in what we came up with specifically or would like to tell us what’s worked (or hasn’t) with your CPing relationships, let us know!

Then, Go Write,


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