The Importance and Value of Critique Partners


So you think your manuscript is ready to go out to agents? Has it been read and critiqued by a few trusted readers/writers who are not afraid of giving you their honest opinion? If not, then you may want to hold off on sending your baby out to the world until it is.

Critique partners are worth more than gold to an author, published or not. A good one will tell you what works and what doesn’t. (S)he will pick out the flaws, the holes in your plot. (S)he’ll tell you whether your dialogue works or if your characters are flat. Sometimes the comments may hurt. They may seem crass but if you set aside your pride for a bit and look at what the person is telling you, you may find what (s)he said is right. Wouldn’t you rather have your critique partner tell you these things than get one rejection after another and not know why?

I used to get really upset when I’d get bad reviews or critiques but each one of them made me strive even harder to find what I did wrong and strengthen what I did right. To each one of you who whipped my MS into shape, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

At present my ms is with two critique partners. They have both been ruthelessly kind and have found minor holes in my story I hadn’t seen before. Without them, my ms would have gone out to agents and probably been rejected. With my two readers helping me, my chances of being accepted by an agent increases ten-fold. I can’t thank them enough for their time and their matter-of-fact style.

So, before you send out that ms of yours to agents, get a few extra eyes to look over it. You’ll be glad you did.

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One thought on “The Importance and Value of Critique Partners

  1. I couldn’t agree more. My MS I currently have under submission? After receiving a heap of critiques for it, and tossing ideas back and forth with other writers, I figured out what needed to be done with it, and rewrote it from scratch. Now, it’s 43000 words lighter, and heaps better for it. Since the rewrite? It’s gone through an entire ms round of edits from a writer buddy, and it went out to 7 people for beta reading–6 of whom were not writers. Only one of those has yet to finish it, but the other 6 have given me a huge thumbs up, and excellent feedback. The next in the series also underwent a major rewrite. That, too, went through a round of edits when my writer buddy proofread it for me, and tossed dodgy out-of-character moments my way, and asked questions that needed answering. That has gone out to all the amazing beta readers who put up with the first novel–at their request (I didn’t even have to ask them to read it, they begged me for more stuff). Once that comes back, I’ll know if it’s sitting well as a story, and edits can be put into place to tidy any wonkiness up. So, yeah, I’m with you. If not for those who critique for me, my product may still be mediocre. If not for those who read for me, I’d never know if I’d produced something desirable. I’d raise a glass to the lot of them if I had any bubbly 🙂

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