I get a little jealous when I hear of the warm, supportive relationships that other authors have with their critique partners. Some are even epic, like Gena Showalter and Jill Monroe or Rachel Vincent and Rinda Elliot. Others have whole groups, like the Viva Scrivas who maintain their own blog.
I have… no one.
Not that my writing doesn’t need critiquing. God knows it does. My writing weaknesses include tenses, commas, and taking the easy way out instead of developing scenes to their fullest potential. (My editors are all nodding their heads here.) I credit my first critique group for taking my completely novice self and whipping me into shape so quickly that I had an agent in a matter of months. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the input of some wonderful people.
But on the whole, having a critique partner is just not for me. I should have gotten a clue with that first group… the fact that I was such a newbie and still the first one to get an agent rankled. Within a month or so the group had imploded.
I’ve had other wonderful CP’s that were too busy themselves to keep up with the fact that I am a bit prolific. (Understatement) I’ve had others who went in a direction that I didn’t feel I could competently critique. Then I had some who were just flakes and never got back to me after I critiqued their work. Then there were times when I flaked out. Not purposefully, but sometimes shit happens.
However, no matter how successful you are, there are those moments when you want someone to give you another perspective. So I hire one. Yep, I hire a CP. Some benefits of hiring a critique partner:
- They never ever, ever need you to critique their chapter when you are on a heinous deadline
- In fact, you never ever, ever have to critique their writing, period.
- They love what they do and are generally quite good at it.
- They don’t want anything in return except a check.
Though I do have a relationship with my hired Cp’s, I don’t have friendships. No hurt feelings, no awkward emails. I send my stuff, they send it back all marked up, I send the check and that’s the end of it. I am free to take their advice or not. This doesn’t mean I won’t occasionally send something short to a friend to look over or critique something in return, but on the whole, hiring someone to do it for me works better for me now than a CP type of relationship could. It gives me peace of mind and that means I get more work done!