Finding a good critique partner is like… well, it’s like coming up with a clever metaphor for your blog in the middle of a 90-hour work week. Tricky.
I’ve had a handful of CPs over the years, and while all of them were great (writers are awesome, I’ve said it before), a couple were/are can’t-wait-to-read-their-notes, OMG-I’ve-got-a-new-CP-email-I-can’t-wait-to-open-it fantastic.
And I got to thinking — what makes a really great critique partner? It depends on what you’re looking for, obviously, but two big things stand out in my mind.
1. Be honest – about the good stuff AND the bad! CPs exist to give feedback — but also encouragement! If you don’t comment on the things you love about your CPs manuscript, just the things you didn’t like…it can quickly become a toxic relationship. Gently point out the things that might need work while enthusiastically pointing out the things that are already fantastic!
2. Be prompt! I’m not saying you have to get that new chapter back in an hour, or a day, or even a week – but if you tell your CP you will read something in the next week/month/decade… try your best to stick to it!! Sending a critique three and a half months later is probably not that helpful (sadly, this has happened to me).
If you do these two things, you’re already aces in my books. Happy critiquing, everyone!