Monday, May 2, 2016

Newbie Corner - Critique Partners and Mentors

While an accountability partner checks up on our progress and is a source of encouragement, critique partners and mentors take the process a step further. I've been privileged to have both at different times in my life and for various purposes.

As a writer, I've shared my work with those who have more experience. Often, they'll see problems I've missed. A couple of writers taught me a great deal about putting together a book proposal, while others edited my manuscripts.

Recently, I hired a professional editor. Since this is a costly undertaking, I checked her website and obtained a partial edit before hiring her to do the full book. She was thorough, fair, encouraging, and we got along well.

I'm sure you may be wondering where you can find a critique partner or mentor. Here are a few suggestions:

1.  A local writers group. Check your library, senior center, and writers who live near you.
2.  If you write fiction, American Christian Fiction Writers has critique groups. You can check their website.
3.  As you make friends blogging and on social media, observe how they interact with others and you. This is how I found my critique partners.
4.  Writers conferences - many friendships have been forged at these events. By networking among writers, you'll find people who are a good fit.

One caution: It's important to link with someone who will give you constructive criticism and not rip your heart out. If you're thinking about someone in your critique group, see how they treat other members. Do they give suggestions that will help improve the work or do they give only negative feedback?

Proverbs 11:14 - KJV "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety." 

Writers:   Do you have a critique partner or mentor? Please share.

Readers:  In your daily life, there are times when you need advice or tutoring. Do you have someone you can trust to give you wise, godly counsel? Please share.

Photo Credit:  Michael Illuchine


Karen Lange said...

Excellent advice, Susan! A good critique partner is worth their weight in gold. :)

Marja Verschoor-Meijers said...

Haha, well... my husband, and he does not spare me :(
But other than that Susan, great post and food for thought. I have too many people who are willing to read my manuscripts, and then say 'oh, I loved it..' or something. Well, that's not critique. It is important to find someone who dares to be honest.

quietspirit said...

No, I don't have a critique partner. I have been searching for a mentor. I need someone to help me get back on track and the to advance with my writing.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

I've had a hectic week! Please forgive my late response to your excellent comments.

Karen - Yes, they are. I'm blessed to have a certain author/blogger look over my words. :)

Hi Marja - Yes, I've had comments like that as well. When we select a critique partner, it helps if they know something about the mechanics of writing.

Hi Quiet Spirit - If you write fiction, you might want to consider joining American Christian Fiction Writers. They have a number of writing loops, as well as critique groups. You might connect with someone there.

Have a blessed week!