Critique Partners Who, What, and How

Critique partners are writer colleagues who provide feedback on your work in exchange for providing feedback on their work usually full manuscripts or individual chapters. A fellow writer or author who provides thoughtful and informed feedback on your work based on their knowledge as a writer in exchange you provide the same feedback to them.

How To Choose a Critique Partner

Critique partners should be chosen based on experience, likeability, and professionalism, they love your story, they write in a similar genre, and they have similar work habits. Matching these six categories will make a long-term critique partner match much more likely.

In my opinion, professionalism is most important. Your critique partner should take their writing as seriously as you do. It should be someone who shares a similar vision for their writing journey. Lastly, and most important someone who seems responsible, thoughtful, and hardworking in their everyday life.

Choosing someone with experience doesn’t mean choosing someone with the most experience it means choosing someone with the same level of experience as you or someone with slightly more experience than you. Someone whose comments on story technique and theory make sense to you where you’re at. Someone whose advice about your story gives you little aha moments of understanding.

Likeability is important in a critique partner and should be someone you like to be around even when you’re not talking about writing. It should be someone compatible with your work methods. Yet someone different enough to bring a new and interesting perspective to your work.

You want to choose someone who loves your story. You want someone who volunteers interest in your work. Someone interested in the type of story you are writing. A critique partner who genuinely likes you, your personality, outlook, and voice.

You’ll want a critique partner who enjoys and writes in the same genre as you. Someone who enjoys the same books and authors as you. A critique partner that can recommend books to you that you will end up loving. Someone that writes in the same genre as you and understand the sub-genres and tropes.

Make sure you choose someone with similar work habits as yourself. Someone whose workflow is similar. Someone whose critique preferences will fit into your own life. Someone willing to give you the speed and amount of response you’re seeking.

How To Be A Good Critique Partner

  • Be choosey about what you critique. Do you respect that person and their work? Do you like and respect that genre? Do you truly want to read that draft?
  • Ask questions first. What kind of critique can you give? What do you want me to do for you?
  • Read with your head heart and pen. Interject your responses as you read to add a note or an emoji to let the writer know what you are thinking.
  • Don’t hold back on the compliments.
  • Be kind but straightforward when it comes to the draft’s shortcomings
  • Remember it’s not your draft. Let the writer have and keep their style and voice.



Don’t miss any of the sinannigans going on here sign up for my weekly blog.

For even more fun get the news letter.

Success! You're on the list.

10 Ways to Improve Your Writing

I work on improving my writing daily. I want to improve my understanding of my craft for my readers, my editor and myself. I think most writers improve simply by writing more. The more you write, the more you improve your craft. Like anything else, practice makes perfect but here are ten things you can do to improve your writing even faster.

  1. Develop a daily writing habit. Again, the more you practice and the more you practice regularly, the faster you will improve.
  2. Plan, then write. You can be a pantser or a plotter but some kind of planning is best when you write. Even if you keep it in your head and plan as you go a few chapters at a time.
  3. Experiment. Write above your skill level to stretch and see what comes of if it. If you have never written a multi-point of view novel, try it or try adding some flash backs for the challenge. Do something different.
  4. Read good writers inside and outside your genre. Reading every day is the best way to learn to write better. It can keep you up to date what the trends are in your field and in publishing. But almost through osmosis you can learn style techniques you may not notice at first.
  5. Be Concise. Concise writing is an industry trend. Dead are the purple prose of the past. Hemingway was one of the first to give us concise writing in a novel, and others followed.
  6. Learn to be conversational. Writing that is too stiff is hard for readers to relate to. In an age where you need to engage your reader, learning to write conversationally is essential.
  7. Think about your audience. I write romance novels so when I write I picture one person reading my novel. I write to that one person and try to give that person what they may want in my novel. A happy ending of course but other things romance, love, and a decent plot.
  8. Read your writing out loud. Reading your writing out loud helps you to slow down and find your errors. Recently I discovered that when I finish writing for the day, I don’t put punctuation at the end of paragraphs. I found that tick by reading out loud.
  9. Get feed-back. Getting feed back can be hard. First, finding a critique group or beta readers where there is trust can be difficult. Second, being brave enough to share your work with others is a courageous thing not everyone is ready for. But work toward sharing your writing you’ll be the better writer for it.
  10. Put yourself out there. try to get published. Poems and short stories have journals and other magazines that look for well-written work all the time. The best advice is to collect rejections. If you have a novel, you can traditionally publish going through finding an agent to represent you, or you can publish independently. The thing is, you shouldn’t let your best work rot on the shelf.