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Critiques and where they take you

23. August 2007

I seem to be talking to people a lot about critique partners and critique groups lately.
I’m one of those terminally single writers. Top me, critique partners have a lot in common with dating. You meet a potential CP, you suss each other out. You may exchange pages. See if you get along. And invariably, things don’t work out. one might fall in love, the other doesn’t. one may be confused, disgusted or simply not as into it. One might be abusive, cruel or lazy.
Or they both might decide to just stay friends.

Either way, I’m no good with crit partners. And don’t even get me started on crit groups.
It has everything to do with how I work. I produce content quickly. Very quickly. I can easily write a full-length first draft in one month without breaking a sweat. Editing is a completely different matter though.
I find it hard to convey exactly what I’d need out of a crit partner, and I don’t want to be the nasty one in the relationship.

What I do love though, are first readers. First readers, in contrast to all CPs I’ve worked with, give you the big picture. They (kinda have to) read your whole manuscript from start to finish. They don’t focus so much on the nitty-gritty as on structural and logical errors. It’s just as hard to find good first readers, but to me, they are more useful at this stage.

All that means is I haven’t found The One. The CP to make my life (and my MS) complete.
I’m still happy to exchange pages with people. As long as they know what they want and need from a critique, I’ll gladly try to deliver.

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