It's time for some hook-ups. Namely, the 2015 Critique Partner Love Connection.
As many of you already know, I have two critique partners (Tessa Gratton and Brenna Yovanoff)
whom I love dearly. For the last 6+ years, they've read everything
I wrote before my editor ever got a look at it. Tessa and Brenna
critique, suggest, support, and mock whenever I need critique,
suggestions, support, or mockery. Our critique group is the
result of a long search — I went through numerous
writers' groups and one-on-one readers, and always felt that the edits
were missing something. I wanted to be critiqued, and yet I never wanted
to act upon the critiques I got. It took me a long time to realize that
I needed to find critique partners who enjoyed the same sort of
story-telling that I did; critique partners who weren't always
suggesting that I turn my novel into the sort of novel that I didn't
want to write. Also critique partners who communicated in the same way
as me — we do everything via gchat, informally, without structure or
So. I found Tessa and Brenna by posting a match-up
exactly like this one, and every year since then, I've done a match-up
for others to use. In the years in between, other resources for crit
partners have appeared on the internet, and I keep thinking I'll stop
getting requests to post one here. If anything, the requests have
multiplied. Possibly it's because the most difficult part of the
critique partner search remains the task of finding a human who enjoys
the same sorts of story-telling as you — maybe the mere fact of having me in common maybe takes some of that odiousness away. Whatever the reason, I keep getting asked, so here it is.
Here are the rules, such as I ever have rules:
Post a comment saying the age range (adult, YA, MG) of your project, a
brief, one-sentence blurb about your book (or just the genre if you
don’t want to share more than that), and whether or not you have an
agent, etc.*. Also include the last book you read that you loved and
also the book you feel epitomizes you as a reader. If you write in a
language other than English, include that info with the language in all
caps so it's easy to find while skimming the comments. Finish with a way to contact you.
don't have to include the agent/ publication information unless it's
important to you to find a critique partner who is also agented/
published. I was agented/ published when I met Tessa/ Brenna; they were
not. It depends on the sort of support you're looking for.
If someone else in the comments sounds like a possible match, send them
a message saying so and find out if it’s mutual. If it is, exchange the
first 50 pages of your manuscripts, critique them, and return said
critiques. If either of you doesn’t feel like the crit relationship is
working at that point, you get to smile and say thanks and walk away without any questions asked. This is VERY IMPORTANT. This ability to shake hands and part ways without hard feelings is the reason why this process
works. Sometimes it takes a few exchanges before you realize it's not a
good match. Don't feel pressured into sticking with each other —
remember that this is honest speed dating and a 'not for me!' is not a
rejection based upon merit.
NOTE: I myself am not looking
for critters. Two partners is enough for me — I can’t keep up with
anymore. I recommend definitely two or three partners for best results.
That way when someone says “this sucks!” and someone else says “does
not!” you can be the tie breaker. But if they both say “this sucks!” and
you say “does not!” it means you’re wrong.
FURTHER NOTE: I don't
read the comments, really. My imaginary assistant Halfred and I monitor
them infrequently only for spam-deletion purposes.
I'll be mirroring this post on my website, Facebook, and Tumblr, so check the other comments there as well.
delights me when writers come up through my signing line and let me
know they met their critique partners through me. I can't imagine
writing professionally without Tessa and Brenna, so it's nice to think I
can pay that forward. Happy hunting.