There is a host of writing advice sites on the Net. They counsel you on topics such as revising and rewriting. Almost all of them also suggest finding good critique partners. Not just one—several—like a Woodstock Love Fest. And then they move on to other topics.
Hold on! How do you find critique partners? This is worse than dating! I can’t just go to the local watering hole, sit around the bar, and look available. Come to think of it, that didn’t work so well for dating either. But it doubly sucks for finding crit partners. Okay, I’m logical. I’ll try a Google search. Yeah, go ahead. Try it now. Put in “critique partner” and you’ll get about 26,300,000 hits, although your results may vary. At this point, it’s probably occurred to you that your odds were better in the bar.
Never fear. I’m here to help you find a crit partner, not push you into a panic attack. No, I don’t run a crit partner dating service, although if anyone wants to use my Comment section to hook-up, be my guest. Here is my 6 step method for finding that special someone to eviscerate your beloved novel:
- I hate to sound like your mother, but you’ve got to get out there. Join groups that specialize in your genre. There are thousands of them. Check out Yahoo Groups, Meetup.com, or let Google be your guide. Just be prepared to sift and sift and sift.
- Never forget the power of houses of worship. Join a Writer’s Guild, Writer’s Market, QueryTracker, or some other place where writers go seeking divine inspiration. They usually have a forum devoted to finding the right partner.
- Visit the local bars. Yeah, I know I dissed them for dating, but check out your public library, bookstores, and local writing clubs. You never know. A gem may show up for double shot night.
- Now that you’re out there and in a place to meet up with other partners, introduce yourself like it’s your first week on campus. “Hi, my name is Sally. I write YA paranormal science fiction romance memoirs.” Okay, maybe that was overkill, but you get the gist. Give a one sentence blurb about your project and say what you’re looking for. And then start speed dating.
- Remember your etiquette. If a match doesn’t work, politely say thanks and move on. Don’t critique the critique to your date. But if you like the way they move through your manuscript and the two of you click—COMMIT—because critiquing is a quid pro quo situation. For every chapter you submit, you critique a chapter in return. This is a partnership, not a paid-for service.
- And then turn everything into a ménage à trois!