Monday, June 10, 2013

Monday's Mixed Ink: On the Importance of Being a Critique Partner

Hi everyone :) It's Jess again, and I hope everyone had a great weekend! Today's Mixed Ink is all about Critique Partners.

When I think about the importance of being a critique partner (CP), I also thinking about the importance of having a CP. The relationship isn’t one way—no relationship should be. A CP is someone with whom you share your writing, from the first drafts and pitches straight through to a solid, polished manuscript. They encourage you, and you encourage them. You celebrate their successes and pull them out of the trenches when all seems lost.

To me, a CP is a Writing BFF. It’s basically like any other friendship, except that this person understands things about writing and creating that your best friend in real life may not. For instance, mine pretty much thinks I’m insane when I tell her my characters can’t (or simply won’t) shut up, so I can’t go to sleep. Or that I’m so inspired to write that it feels like my hands are literally on fire.

Talynn here does. 

And so as far as why it’s important to be a critique partner… it just is. Not to be vague, but that’s literally what I think when asked that question. It is so so important to get another’s opinion on your writing. You cannot look at your manuscript objectively—you can’t! You’ll want to keep your characters alive and well, when the plot clearly won’t allow for that. Maybe there’s a plot point you want to keep, but that doesn’t work for the novel whatsoever. A CP’s insight is invaluable. They will tell you what to cut and what to keep from the point of view of the reader. And in being a CP for someone else, you’ll learn so much about your own writing because you’re not simply reading their book, you’re having a hand in helping them craft it. I have learned so much more from being a CP than I think I could have in a writing class or from a writing how-to book.

When your CP is in the query trenches, your role is even more important. As their CP, you understand what it’s like, so you can pull them through all the rejections, and help them take in all the feedback they may have gotten.

That is what a critique partner is, and why it is important to be one. Helping other writers is never a bad idea, and is something everyone should be doing. You never know who you’ll meet, what you’ll end up doing together, or how great a friend you’ll find!


  1. I love my CPs. It's one of the reasons I'm so thankful I started blogging, that's how I met them. My writing has improved so much. They totally rock. :) Plus I get to read all this awesome stuff before anyone else does. ;)

  2. I think the act of critiquing someone else's work also helps your own writing too.

  3. it's so essential to have a CP who is honest with you, both when things are and aren't working. Can't imagine what my stuff would look like without my CP.

  4. I read a lot of manuscripts and so appreciate the feedback I get from my partners. I couldn't do this without their keen eyes and comments.

  5. My critique partners help me all the way to the end. I even ran the outline for my next book past one of them and he had great suggestions for the direction of the story.

  6. That's true. Several of my CPs are now publishing. Some have had plays produced. It's great to see how far we've all come together. And I really need that input when starting a new story. That's always where I need the most help. :)

  7. I love my CPs and BRs. Without them I wouldn't have learned as much, nor would I have become a better writer. They helped me to become an editor at a small pub company. They've changed the directions I thought my life was going.

    I enjoy returning the loves and red ink. Watching as their stories grow and become books on the shelves. To cheer them when goals, big and small, have been achieved.

  8. A CP is a BFF. Without one, who would survive?


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