Friday, June 27, 2014

The Best Partner For A Writer

Yesterday, for the first time in a couple of months, I got together with my critique partners at Starbucks. Yes, we still have been critiquing each other but it's been through email. We decided to get together through the summer while Toni is working on her garden. Why stay home on Thursdays when I can meet with my team and critique and catch up?!

It was great sitting around and talking about what's new with our writing and how we are progressing. But one subject came up and got me to thinking this would be a great one for my blog post today - The importance of a critique partner.

First of all, I don't know where our quality with our writing would be without my critique partners. They are my light in a dark room. I value their ideas and opinions highly and honor them as part of my team. It has been a great ride so far and they are so supportive of us. 

With that being said, I believe a good critique partner keeps you in check. If the two, or three, of you stay within the guidelines and timelines of critiquing you can get through your chapters in a timely fashion. The whole idea is to keep on goal and be consistent. It does take a willingness to commit to your writing and your partner's goals, too. 

I have talked with a few best selling author's who agree, that your critique partners are gold! They are priceless to achieving a finished product that is high quality. 

I have also read quite a few self-published authors, and a few traditionally published, that I can tell they didn't have good critique partners, or at least, someone who could help them with creative writing skills. In fact, I know a few authors who don't have critique partners at all

and feel that their writing is just wonderful and don't need them.

I beg to differ!

When they send me their chapters I find tons of mistakes and lack of skills to be publishing. When I bring the mistakes to their attention they get angry and don't want to face that their writing needs work, simply because they don't want to put in the effort, or their egos are to big. I guess they will figure it out when the second book comes out and the only people who buy it are close friends and family. 

Another way they will figure it out is through mediocre reviews, especially professional ones. For me, this would be embarrassing. I know that not everyone will love your book for different reasons, such as not their favorite genre, but at least give them a quality read, one that's tight and not filled with info dump and head hopping, or POV issues. These can be very frustrating when you are trying to enjoy a book.

It's okay to know that you're only human and make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them. The same applies to writing mistakes. Which brings me back to the importance of your critique partners. So those of you that think you don't need a critique partner, think again. Not only are their suggestions invaluable, but it can become a great friendship!

It doesn't mean you aren't writing your book alone, it means you value higher quality and care about your readers. So writers, get yourself a good critique partner. Someone who will commit to you and your books. But remember, you need to reciprocate!  

There is an old saying, one that applies here - You can't edit yourself.

Until next Friday, I wanted to let you know we are working on the website and hope to have it up soon. Take care and have a wonderful week!

Love, Lisa


  1. Awww, thanks, Lisa!

    I missed you and Janet and it was so good to catch up and get critique.

    I hope that any writers reading this take it to heart. I value the feedback you guys give me more than you'll ever know.

    And, Toni, miss you too!!


  2. I understand exactly what you mean. I am working as a freelance proofreader, and a number of books went through my hands, some good, some, well, not so good. When it is the case, I make suggestions. Most authors are pretty open-minded, but I have had the experience of hurting one author's ego so much that he has stopped writing entirely. My intent was far from it, but for some, it is difficult to accept criticism.

    1. Hi Anka, I know exactly what you mean. Several writer friends have sent me their chapters to look at and when I point out critical errors, such as info dump and head hopping they don't understand and get angry with me?! I knew when I first wrote Fable that I needed help, I wasn't sure why it didn't read right, but something was wrong. the best move I ever made was hiring a writing coach. Sure I was frustrated at first and wanted to quit, but once I saw and understood what she meant my writing changed forever. The only thing is, every time I read a book now I can spot these issues and it makes it hard to enjoy a book when you're skimming half of it or lost because you don't know who's head you're in now. American writers need to work on their skills. I have seen this with a few British writers, but not many. I think most of the issues are in self-pubs. I know there are still a few mistakes in Fable but when they were pointed out to us we have gone in and fixed them. I want our books to be the best they can be! ;-)