Only those who possess a wicked sense of humor and a sense of the absurd need apply.
Do you have the following qualifications?
Willing to take field trips (may include stalking) to observe and interview police, hookers, military personnel, farmers, morticians, mobsters, mechanics, Walmart greeters, nuns and prison guards—if you own a pair of night vision goggles even better.
Please note: Some of the above personnel may take exception to inquiring minds and we would therefore venture into Googleland instead. After all, our partnership would be hindered by broken bones or head injuries.
Do you enjoy leisurely lunches, brainstorming ways to dispose of dead bodies, discussing angst, heartbreak, emotional baggage and new and improved ways where a couple could make love? At the same time not feel intimidated or embarrassed if by chance the luncheon conversation is overheard by bystanders?
This is not the partnership for you if:
- You won’t share your stash of chocolate.
- You suffer indigestion while sharing a bottle of whine with a side order of well done rant.
- You take yourself (or a potential partner) too seriously.
If there was such a thing as Match-Critique-Partner.com the above could be an ad for a writer in search of their vocational partner.
For a writer, finding a critique partner could be as daunting as finding a spouse, throw in the requirements that your critique partner must be creative, critical yet compassionate, be as passionate about your work as they are of theirs, be on call twenty-four-seven for a shoulder when bad reviews or rejections come in, be non-judgmental, understand your quirks and accept your swinging lifestyle (I’m talking about mood swings of course).
I’ve been fortunate to partner with two writers; Nancy Lauzon and Denise Agnew. We brainstorm, laugh and cry together on our writing journey.
Although we differ in our outward personalities—Nancy and Denise being the extroverts and me being the shy, demure and very serious one (admittedly, tongue is planted firmly inside cheek)—our differences have strengthened our friendship and working relationship.
Our writing strengths and weaknesses complement each other, helping us to learn from one another with the goal of producing a stronger work of fiction. Our similarities—love of family, books, laughter and chocolate are the added elements that have turned our working relationship into a strong friendship.
The main ingredient when working with a critique partner is to have one-hundred-percent trust in each other and give and take suggestions and opinions with respect for your partner’s work.
There are times when we don’t take each other’s advice, and that’s okay, as with any partnership you’re not always going to agree with everything.
Every writer has their own unique voice and perceives the world differently, and that’s a good thing—vive la difference.
A strong critique partnership embraces those differences and makes them work for the team.
The literary world can be harsh and ruthless and can wreak havoc on your writing confidence at times. A writer not only has to be her harshest critic when looking at her work objectively before submitting, but needs to believe and know that her critique partner has her back and is assured that her partner wouldn’t let her send a manuscript out that isn’t polished enough for submission.
A critique partner is someone who is willing to slay the “I suck at this” dragon when it rears its ugly head.
As with writing, the main thing is to enjoy your partnership and having someone who understands the journey, celebrate each step of the way, even something like finishing a chapter or writing a blog post.
“The desire to write grows with writing.” ~~Desiderius Erasmus