In Which Zombie Joe Contemplated Critique Partners

Okay, so my titles are still feeling a bit Victorian. Don’t judge. It’s an ugly habit. The judging… not the… never mind.

This is one that is out there for my author friends. Even if you aren’t friends, or wish you didn’t know me. Feel free to comment on this subject. Currently I am contemplating writing partners and critique partners. This has been on my mind the last couple weeks thanks to Odyssey Con and the panel on collaboration. Not to mention the week before I had lunch (well they had lunch, I had a soda and conversation) with some authors who had long distance critique partners.

I have a weekly writing group. We meet at a diner every Tuesday (provided nobody is sick/away and someone has something to share) to read bits of our work aloud and critique them. Considering some of our members are writing erotica I think it is pretty amazing the diner accommodates us. But lately most of us have been in a funk. I’m putting in solid words every morning, but nothing that is developed enough to share. I just today have a chapter in my rewrite/revision ready to share with them. So I have an outlet for feedback. Lately I’ve been contemplating if I am missing an opportunity.

Until I put these first couple of manuscripts to rest (trunking them or reworking for submitting), I can’t see me doing a collaboration. Not that I wouldn’t be open to it, but I can’t see me doing it until I know I’d be in the right place. Also, currently I don’t see me offering much to the table for any established author willing to do a collaboration. I don’t see me getting past the “Well tell me a story” line that Larry Niven gave Steven Barnes. That could be the neurotic author in me talking, but there it is.

What I think I am missing out on is the possibility of a long distance critique partner. Someone I’m not face to face with every week that I can simply meet online every now and again to brainstorm and then send a complete and polished work for a fresh pair of eyes on it. For instance, once I rework my current piece to have the first three chapters popping (as I just did) and then clean up the rest of it I messed up by doing that (as I have yet to do), if I bring it back to my writing group it will take months to go through it again, and they will have read it all before. I can see the value of having someone from a different state (or country for that matter) to send it to for a fresh opinion.

My questions for you established authors out there are:

  1. Do you go to a weekly/monthly writers/critique group?
  2. Do you have a writing partner?
  3. Do you use a critique partner?
  4. If yes, local or distant?
  5. Do you have multiple critique readers/partners?
  6. What do you look for in a critique partner? What value do you get out of it?

I’ve read a number of advice pieces on how to find a critique partner, so the how to is not really the questions I have. Part of me would like to stay local, but the bigger picture part of me knows that my writing community is a vast network and not just limited to Southern Wisconsin.

Thoughts?

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2 thoughts on “In Which Zombie Joe Contemplated Critique Partners

  1. I belong to a local chapter of RWA that meets monthly, but it’s not, overall in of itself, a crit group. I did, however, meet my crit partners through the group. I also send work to friends I’ve made over the course of my career. I don’t do it monthly or chapter by chapter any more, but rather when I’m finished with a project (or sometimes need a boost on something not yet finished.) But I’ve found having someone to read my work and offer crit has been invaluable.

  2. 1. No, I don’t have time with young children.
    2. I have worked with a writing partner in the past (and it was an amazing experience), but don’t any longer. We both became too busy.
    3. Yes, I still use a critique partner. I have 3 ladies who I work with, rotating between them depending on the type of work I need critiqued and who is busiest that month.
    4. All distant.
    5. Yes, see answer 3.
    6. I look for someone who won’t bullshit me, and I get a LOT out of my CP relationships. I enjoy both their tough love and their encouragement and LOVE being the first to offer them the same :).

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