Now that we’ve finished going through my complicated, ten step editing process, there’s another step to all of this that is very important: Critique Partners.
You need them.
Critique Partners are the other sets of eyes that look at your writing and point out the plot holes and inconsistencies that you didn’t notice because you’ve read your MS so many times your eyes have glazed over. They pick out the clichés that you thought were brilliant at the time. They tell you if your character is being wholly unlikable.
And though their feedback can be hard sometimes, it’s important. Because maybe you have made mistakes and their suggestions will make them better.
So what should you look for in a critique partner? Well you want to find someone you respect and trust. Someone who is a fan of books that are comparable to what yours is trying to achieve. Someone who you know will tell you the hard truths. But they also have to be a writer. Someone who understands story structure and character arcs. While its great to have family and friends give you feedback, they can only give you feedback as a reader. And you need a writer. And if someone in your family happens to be a writer, great. Get them.
You want someone who can be brutal. You want a critique partner that won’t sugar coat what isn’t working. They’re a critique partner for a reason. You don’t need them to only tell you how awesome you are. You need their hard opinion.
But they should also be your advocate. Someone who tells you what is working and cheers for you when good things happen. Don’t get someone who hates your work. Get someone who loves it enough to make it better.
Critique partners are a necessary step in the editing process. If you don’t have one, find one. You won’t regret it.