Five Reasons Crit Partners Rock!

Moonday Mania

a blog for all you partners out there

WOOT! I have some fantastic news. You may have noticed the new Night Owl Reviews Badge  in it’s place of honor on the right side of the blog. The Dark Huntsman, A Fantasy Romance of the Black Court had a 4.5 STAR REVIEW! It was really nice to read the review on Sunday and to have a good start to December. Overall, romance readers are enjoying the book and I’m very happy and grateful. And one of the people I’m grateful to is my critique partner, ML Guida.

Mary writes about vampires and demons and I write about the fae and werewolves. We have totally different styles, especially between my Twisted Tales: Come Into the Woods novellas and Mary’s Legends of the Phoenix historical, vampire romance. Both Mary and I have tried other crit partners and crit groups before and some of them worked and some didn’t. On my part, I had tried a few crit groups, with limited success. One was a mixed genre group, and it just didn’t work for me. For one thing, I was nervous about exposing my writing to a group for the first time, and these were real writers. (Now I look back on my newbie self and sigh). And another reason it didn’t work, is that they didn’t understand the unique structure of romance. I tried, but it wasn’t good. The other one was a romance group, but it only met once a month and five pages once a month was not enough for me to get the feedback I needed. I also was lucky enough to work with two great critique partners before Mary, but we were at different points in our careers (and lives). Things wavered, then collapsed. It wasn’t anyone’s fault. Both helped me with my writing, but neither was at the point of publishing and when the critiquing portion of the relationships naturally fell to the wayside, I was left with a gap to fill.

At the same time, Mary had been in a wonderful crit group. One of the things about a large group is that means a lot of chapters to crit for everyone else, and you only  get one or two done of your own work. Mary was writing very fast and needed someone who could keep up with her. She wanted to put out more than one book a year, and at that pace her crit group just couldn’t keep up.

So we started exchanging two chapters a week. And it’s been amazing every since.

So here are my favorite things about having a crit partner:

1. A crit partner can be your other half.

I don’t mean we have a blissful relationship, although we get along great, I mean that Mary’s writing strengths are my weaknesses. I tend to rocket through my stories. Action! Action! Action! Mary’s writing has a lot of emotional and situational detail. Together, she slows me down and I speed her up. Find a crit partner who is your opposite on the writing front and you’re writing will be much stronger.

2. A crit partner keeps you on task.

When you owe someone chapters, you’d better have them ready. Mary has times in her life when she has more time off and so do I. We’re working on the process of having previously written chapters ready to go for the other person when they are ready to edit, but writing doesn’t always work that way. The nice thing is that I know Mary will be asking, “Do you have those chapters ready?”. The accountability, not just to get their work to them, but to have work read for them is terrific for me. She keeps me focused on my writing goals.

3. A crit partner is critical.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but there are crit partners who only tell each other the good things. I don’t think that’s a very productive critiqing relationship. On the other hand, criticism is hard to hear, and it needs to be ladled out with a good dose of positivity. (For a terrific article on how to crit, click HERE.) A few nice things, a few critical things. Try not to change the other’s voice, just offer suggestions on what isn’t working. It’s a delicate balance, and not everyone achieves it with their first attempts at working with a crit partner. I was lucky, Mary has critiqued a lot in the past, so she’s very good at balancing. I was also lucky because she is honest, and if something doesn’t work for her, she’ll tell me. Honesty is priceless.

4. A crit partner can help you focus your career.

Mary and I are both at similar points in our publishing careers. We’re both published with an e-press, Passion in Print, and we’ve both just released our first novels, on our own. She has more books out than I do, but we’re discussing similar levels of sales, budget, and advertising. Should we go to Ritas and Readers or should we go to Rom Con? What about blog tours? Who does a good job? Should you advertise? Where and when and how much should you spend? When you are an author you have to make all of these decisions on your own and it’s a huge advantage to have someone who is making the same decisions to bounce your ideas off of.

5.  A crit partner is a terrific source of support and encouragement.

Maybe it’s because we’re at a similar point in our publishing life, but Mary knows exactly what I’m feeling when my books are doing well, and when I hit a setback. And that’s not just in the writing phase of the book. Although the writing is our purpose in our relationship, we also offer encouragement when we read our reviews on line, when we enter contests, when we get rejected or accepted. Most crit partners start as friends, but since we share so much, Mary and I have become close friends. And to have someone to share my writing gripes and successes with, someone who actually knows what I’m talking about, someone who wants to hear about writing and books 24/7, that’s what I want in a crit partner.

Who do you have in your life who acts like a crit partner? Is it a best friend? A mentor? Who offers you support and criticism while you follow your dreams?

A Pirate's Curse by ML GuidaWant a taste of something different? A Pirate’s Curse is 99 cents, today, on Amazon!

Mary writes historical vampire books set in the 1600s. The pacing is different from mine, the voice is entirely different. I’m not sure you can tell we work together, and that’s likely a good thing. We have kept our individuality and our relationship works. 

Like a dark angel, Captain Kane O’Brien rescues Hannah Knight and her father from drowning after vampire pirates murder their crew and sink their ship. Struggling to control and hide her telekinetic powers, Hannah discovers the honorable and bold captain possesses his own secrets.
Every full moon, Kane turns into a vampire. Finding out Hannah not to be the cabin boy she resembles, but a beautiful, luscious woman, tempts all his appetites. Desperate to be free of his curse, Kane considers handing Hannah over to a demon. But after Hannah uses her power to save his ship from his immortal enemy, Kane can no longer deny his attraction and vows to protect Hannah with his life.
To find true love, they must combine their powers to defeat evil vampires, thwart Hannah’s misogynist fiancé and escape a crafty demon.


Filed under channeling success, Moonday mania, writing craft

4 responses to “Five Reasons Crit Partners Rock!

  1. I wouldn’t be where I am without my critique partners, Sharon Clare and Urve Tamberg. We share the same passion for writing yet bring different perspectives to the critiquing table. We share things we’ve learned, and we want each other to shine, I’m blessed to have these fine writers, and very fine friends, in my corner.

    And, we have our writing friends, whose support and feedback are priceless. I count you in that camp, Jessica. And where would I be without my bestie, Gloria Richard?

    • Having a writing support group, like yours, is critical. Balancing a crit group between three people can be a challenge.I know you three have made it work for a while. I’m glad it works for you and you all are able to get what you need.

  2. Thank you Jessica for all those nice comments. You are definitely a gem among critique partners and I’m glad we crossed paths. I value you as a critique partner because I can always tell when I hit an emotional response good or bad. Jessica definitely reacts and this gives me valuable feedback. On one of my books, the vampire was too dominating and sleezy (think Sleeping with the Enemy) and definitely not what I wanted my hero to be. I changed it based on her comments and the book is much stronger. I look forward to getting Jessica’s comments every time I open my email and I enjoy reading her stories. BTW, that reminds me, ahem….your Christmas pages ?

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