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Critique Connection

A comment from Marybk on my last post reminded me of something I’ve been wanting to do again. It can be hard to find critique partners who are focused on learning, growing, and who also write in the same area as you do. I’ve always wanted to make sure my readers have access to critique partners if they need them.

A fair number of critique relationships these days happen online. Partners exchange manuscripts, give notes, talk on the phone or on email. It often takes several tries with several partners to get a good and mutually constructive relationship going. You want to look for someone who knows what they’re talking about, that can articulate not only what doesn’t work in a piece of writing but why, you want someone you can get along with, and someone whose writing you think is good and that you wouldn’t mind reading over and over.

I can’t guarantee that I can facilitate match-made-in-kidlit-heaven-style critique partners for everyone, but I did want to make sure you guys who are looking for crit partners had a venue to post. I have all of your questions from the last few days in mind and will get back to writing regular posts soon, but for now, let me make this a personals board for the critique-partner-less.

POST IN THE COMMENTS ON THIS ENTRY ONLY IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A CRITIQUE PARTNER. Put your genre (fantasy, paranormal, realistic, etc.) and your audience (picture book, MG, YA, etc.) and what you want to work on (a complete manuscript of XX,000 words, a partial, a query, etc.). Let’s see if we can’t make any matches here. The worst that can happen is you could share your work with someone, get some notes, and decide it’s not a fit.

ETA: If you see anyone here that you think might be a good fit, leave a comment with your email address or a way to get in touch with you. I can’t look through the comments and match people up, you should take the lead if you think anybody’s stuff sounds good to you. Use this as a personals board! Lots of people are looking for critique partners… now reach out to each other and try to connect and run with it!

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  1. Margo Berendsen’s avatar

    I have a complete MG fantasy, 80,000 words which I am trying to whittle down to a publishable size. This is my second novel and I would say I am an intermediate writer – have the basics down, but need more polish and voice (and some suggestions of where I can cut). I have been in critique groups for years – both on-line and in-person but would like some critiquers who are also writing MG fantasy. I always try to balance my critiques to point out strong writing as well as parts that need work. I am looking for someone who can critique about a chapter a week.

    My MS is contemporary fantasy written from a 12 year old girl’s perspective and a young unicorn’s perspective.

    berendsen70 at yahoo

  2. Kay’s avatar

    Thanks for listing the critique want-ads.

    I think I found a critique partner within driving distance — when my current partners seem to be fading. Thanks again.

  3. Amy’s avatar

    I’m late, but I’ll still try!

    I have a completed (except that I keep waking up in the night thinking of changes I could make and then go pick at the manuscript until it bleeds) YA paranormal (time travel) manuscript. It’s at 78,000 words, but I’d like to get it down farther. I’ve had some requests and encouraging rejection, but so far no agent! I fear I jumped the gun querying and would love some feedback on this project.

    I’d like to find a solid critique partner who won’t hesitate to tell me when to murder my darlings. And to be nice about it. I don’t need help with grammar, but I’m hoping for some big picture help. I don’t love gritty, but I’m willing to read just about anything.

    I’d love to exchange pages if anyone’s still looking.

  4. Amy’s avatar

    Rookie mistake!

    amywilson24 at gmail.com

  5. E A Abel’s avatar

    I am currently working on a manuscript, YA, Fantasy/Horror. I am searching for a partner who would be willing to offer a complete honest edit. In return, I will offer the same. I would prefer to partner up with a serious hard working person. I find myself being able to analyze one chapter or more a day. If this sounds like you, please let’s get together.

  6. carlos Nordquist’s avatar

    Will start working on a rough draft again/manuscript, if I have a critique partner. I just need someone to write for. Have been published online here and there. I am one of those people who loves to write, but doesn’t know why. Am interested in reading some good YA Paranomal and am interested in writing the same–if I have a purpose to write, but right now, I am enrolled in the Institute of Children’s Literature and am taking their course. I write for my writing teacher, but would swap chapters with someone, if only there was someone. email: carlosandterra@yahoo.com

  7. ee hershey’s avatar

    Whew – mine eyes are crossing from skimming such a list… and from visually editing out references to “dystopian” and “steampunk”, which fear at my advanced age of 33 I’m just too uncool to understand.

    Anybody else working on a MG wip that’s funny, silly, goofy, punny and just an all-around good time? I’m also interested in upper MG, mystery and light fantasy/paranormal that travel to approachable, nay WACKY, realms. Did I mention humor?

    Like minded? Would LOVE to communicate. gipsygrrl at gmail dot com

  8. helen cho’s avatar

    YA Paranormal 70,000.

    would like to show chapter for chapter. I have a couple of writing degrees so I’m capable of excellent line editing, etc.

    I also need an overall “Does this work” for each chapter and will provide the same : ie line edit, general overview of chapter.

    I’d like to do a sample swap of first chapters so that we know we like each other’s stuff.

    My rate is a chapter a day. I’m mostly done with mine.
    you can contact me at futurehelen@gmail.com

  9. Seth’s avatar

    Just saw this now, amazing. Many thanks to Mary for putting this together.

    I’m obviously looking for writers to critique my work (95k YA urban fantasy), but I’d prefer more established writers than newbies. Not necessarily published ones, just people who have been writing for, say, more than a year or two. I’ve critiqued full novels before, and I’m more than ready for teaming up with a bunch of aspiring authors.

    Maybe a group of 4-6 where we throw out a manuscript a month for critique by everyone else? We could draw straws for who gets first crack, although I know it’s not fun to have to wait 6 months for your manuscript to get critted. I’m open to ideas.

    Shoot me an email – hermshark at gmail. Later.

  10. Tabitha Rees’s avatar

    Is it too late? Oh well, there are still people replying, so why not?

    My name is Tabitha Rees. I’m a young writer with a YA/urban fantasy series about a girl who finds out the monsters in her dreams are real (muhahaha). I’d be more than willing to rub elbows with anyone in the buisness, whether they are established or unagented like myself.

    If you are interested in working with me with your own paranormal or teen novel/series please don’t hesitate to contact me! I’ll love to get to know people out there! Just contact me via anythingbutordinary927 at yahoo dot com.

  11. Angela Francis’s avatar

    I hope I’m not too late! I’m Angela Francis. I’m a young writer as well, unpublished, and slightly new into this world. I have a background in entertainment and theatre performance, toured in plays, and singing. Transferred into the writing world about 2 years ago.

    I have a Edgy, YA book, almost crossover. Very dark, dealing with domestic violence. Really looking for someone to help me out. It’s about 80k. Would like to work on the entire thing, and really make sure it’s polished. I have several other manuscripts as well, all edgy YA. Please contact me at angelhett at gmail dot com

  12. futurehelen’s avatar

    hi E A Abel,

    I’d be interested in swapping chapters with you!
    I’m also YA Fantasy.

    you can contact me at futurehelen@gmail.com

  13. Pamla’s avatar

    I’m looking for a CP who can exchange a chapter every week or so. I need suggestions from my partner on anything he/she thinks would make my novel stronger. If you are good with snappy dialog –big plus. If you like or wouldn’t be bothered by a little (or a lot) of swearing, sex, violence–another plus.

    I’m writing Urban Fantasy now, and I prefer dark UF with maybe a little romance thread. I also like good historical romance and mysteries. I’m not really interested in YA. There are some books I really love in that genre, but my main interest is with adult themes and I would prefer my CP to have similar interests.

    If this sounds like a match to your needs, I am — pj2961 at gmail dotcom

  14. RobinC’s avatar

    Very late to this game, but I’d like to give it a shot. I am currently working on my first MG manuscript – contemporary with a touch of paranormal. I would love to find a CP or small group to exchange chapters and receive constructive feedback. My WIP is nowhere near finished, but I am willing to share with someone whose work is farther along.

    I have lots of experience in giving solid feedback and notes and I am a voracious reader who sparks to almost all genres (fantasy, westerns, MG, adult, thrillers, YA, whatever…) All I ask is that my CP have an interest in the genre and age group that I am working in.

    Although I am new to writing long formats, I have a number of writing credits in entertainment with screenplays for film and television. I also have a few published short stories and non-fiction pieces. I wouldn’t label myself a newbie – a little more in the intermediate range.

    Please contact me at Robinclaire1 at gmail dot com, if you are interested. Thanks.

  15. Ammie’s avatar

    Hi everyone-

    I guess I am REALLY late to the party. I’m a stay at home mama of two crazy munchkins (2 and 8 months old–no, I don’t have a death wish, more like a full time nanny wish).

    I write funny, quirky lower and upper MG, have a wicked sense of humor, and am a damn good writer. Am I published? *ahem, uncomfortable cough* Nope. Not yet. But I DID get a perfect score on my state teaching certification essay exam! Does that count?

    Ok, so I’m looking for a partner who is lax, but consistent, who will commit to writing at least a chapter or so every week, and understands that sometimes I can’t get work done because a crazy monkey, ahem, child, is screaming like a maniac that they want to see Dora the Explorer for the tenth time this morning, and sometimes another member of the family is covered in poop. It happens.

    If you think we might be a great match, call me! Oh wait, this is not online dating. Email me at: ammiehart AT gmail.com.

    Happy writing!

  16. Sarah’s avatar

    I am currently involved with an in-person group, but I’d love to get an online critique partner/group for a more thorough critique of my work. My current group meets only once a month, and they never print out their work or send it via email before the meeting. I’m a very visual person, so I need to read the actual words myself or I drift off and lose interest. I’ve tried ReviewFuse, but the feedback is so inconsistent that you can’t really use it. I’d be willing to set up a group there if people are willing to fork over the $50 annual fee to join a private group.

    I write MG/YA/Adult, usually fantasy or scifi, sometimes a little romantic, sometimes funny. I like taking old fairy tales and rewriting them for modern times. I’ve mostly written short stories (due to time constraints) and I wrote a novel for NaNoWriMo 2008 (which I think I’m scrapping…30 days just isn’t long enough to write a novel…who knew?).

    I am working on writing a new adult novel which, at this point in time, appears to be a paranormal romance. It feels like a fairy tale to me, but I can guarantee that there are no actual fairies in it. I’m really burned out on fairies. And vampires. And shifters. If you write about them, and the story is really good, I’ll read it. Otherwise, no. There comes a point in time where you must say no, I’ve had enough. I am also working on a MG short story that may become a novel eventually. It’s about a girl who thinks she has a psychic power and no one believes her, and you’re not quite sure if she actually has it. So, is that paranormal or not? You decide.

    Crime novels don’t really rev my Chevy, but I will read the occasional thriller. Some authors I admire are Gaiman, Rowling, Pratchett, Vonnegut, and Austen.

    I’m a software developer in my day job, so I’m big on technology, but not big on reading or writing about it; merely as a tool to use for writing. I love art and music. I used to be the bass player in a rock band that no one’s ever heard of since we didn’t actually play a whole lot of gigs. I have stagefright. I love to watch dancing but can’t really do it myself, unless you consider Dance Dance Revolution to be actual dancing. If you write about any of these things, especially DDR, I would love to read it. (Also, have you tried Just Dance on the Wii? The Elvis song is pure WIN!)

    I have an infant at home, a full-time job, a chronic illness (MS), a husband who just bought a lawn tractor so now he mows the lawn every other day while I watch the baby, and not a lot of spare time (go figure, huh?), but I do love to write (and read). I may not be able to write a chapter every week. I have a lot of things (i.e. tiny people covered in snot) vying for my time. However, I am willing to critique your work even if I have nothing to share at the time.

    I want to build relationships with a group of writers over time, not just a quick critique of my writing in order to get it publishable. More of a long-term commitment, not just a one-night stand.

    Email me if interested: sarahellenolson AT gmail.com

  17. Lyndsey’s avatar

    I’m a an unpublished writer and looking for a critique partner. I’m finished my second draft and wanting some honest feedback. My novel is fantasy/paranormal for a YA audience. I have a whole manuscript, around 87,000 words, but would like to work chapter by chapter if that’s possible. I’m eager to have someone read my work, besides my family. I’m also wanting a honest, trustworthy person to help me with whatever needs fixed.

  18. Akoss’s avatar

    I have a first draft YA novel of 29K done. I’m currently working on NaNoWrimo for another YA novel, but in December, I will be going back to edit my 29K novel.
    I am looking for a long term crit partnership. Please read my blog and decide if I am a match for you and contact me.
    Thanks for this awesome idea.

  19. Helene’s avatar

    Hi! I’m a marketing and communications professional and a freelance music writer who has been writing all my life in one form or another.

    But…I’ve now finished a draft of a YA urban fantasy (87k). The book revolves around New York City, Irish Music, Elementals, and the redemptive powers of love.

    Looking for a “not pulling any punches” type of reader. I really want someone committed to helping me beat this thing into something strong. And happy to do the same.

    I like to read a variety of genres, styles. YA, British literature of the 1930′s, contemporary adult. Favorite authors: Maggie Steifvater, Melissa Marr, Evelyn Waugh, Harlan Ellison, Jodi Picoult…mixed bag really!

    Send a message if you think if might be worth exchanging some chapters. Thanks! perchance to dream2 at gmail dot come.

  20. Angela’s avatar

    Hey! I’m looking for a crit partner for my contemp YA. It is completed around 85k. Sent it out and had a lot of positive response but then got a great rejection about edits and revisions needed. Did that, now I am looking for a crit partner. I’m great with dialogue, line edits, plots, character, themes, etc. Looking for a fast-paced exchange. Love crit as well, will read *almost* anything but I prefer YA, dark, funny, and everything in between! Email me at angelhett at gmail dot com. Ciao!

  21. Akoss’s avatar

    Hello,
    I’m looking for a Critique Partner interested in YA and MG novels. I read anything from fantasy to paranormal (I’m new to Dystopian novels but don’t mind them at all). I have 2 YA WIP and a current MG novel that I’m working on.
    I’m not published nor do I have an agent but I strive and work toward better writing. If you think you might be a match please email me at: ank272(at)live(dot)com

    Thanks

  22. Jeremy Eyman’s avatar

    Hello,
    I am looking for a critique partner interested in PB MS. If it works out I would like to continue this into a critique partnership in the PB genre. I have currently finished my PB MS (Approx. 510 words) and is now ready for the critique rounds. I’m also currently WIP on some other PB MS.
    I am looking for someone that critiques with honesty, constructive criticism, has a passion for the PB industry, with some possible editing skills.
    I’m not currently published and just starting out learning how to critique as well. If you are interested in just doing a critique that would be fine as well.
    Well, hope to hear from someone in this endeavor. Thanks!
    email me at: jecolorado48 at gmail dot com

  23. Ai Kiminomori’s avatar

    Hello!
    This is my first time to bump into this website and I’m not sure how things work, but I’m posting my need anyway. I am working on a huge novel (over 80,000 words) right now(huge, but not hard to read). It is a realistic, coming-of age story about 2 boys, one is an aspiring concert pianist, the other one a ballet dancer. My writing is pretty strong, but since English is my second language, I need someone who has strong grammatical/linguistic skills to critique it. Also, the nature of the two boys are such (both being artists), someone with good knowledge/interest about classical music and/or ballet will be very helpful.
    I will be happy to hook up with someone who is writing something similar and give my critique as well. Only, horrors, SF, romance, crime stories are not my forte. Historical novels, wars, social dramas, memoirs, children’s, coming of age, autobiography, etc. are my strength. If anyone’s interested, please contact me at: tuscanred@juno.com
    Thanks!
    Ai Kiminomori

  24. Koi’s avatar

    Hi.
    I´m searching for critique partners with the same taste in YA Science-Ficton/ Fantasy. Currently, I´m writing on a dystopian novel (more in my mind but on computer).
    I´m from Germany but I will study Creative Writing next year in London.
    I only want people who really want to work on their manuscripts – not just for fun but for their future work.

    Okay, enough of bad english. ;)

    Send me a friendship request here: http://www.facebook.com/fabienne.seegler (sorry, email is too private)

  25. Angela’s avatar

    I am currently looking for a crit partner for my YA paranormal book, THE SCARLETT LULLABY. A twist off Sleeping Beauty. Told from 3rd per with alternating POVs. This is about 80k. What I can do for you:I’m great with dialogue, line edits, plots, character, themes, etc. Looking for a fast-paced exchange. Love crit as well, will read *almost* anything but I prefer YA, romantic, dark, funny, and everything in between! I’m looking for someone to do this for the long haul and create a lasting relationship with. Email me at angelhett at gmail dot com

  26. Rich Cappelli’s avatar

    I am looking for a critique partner to discuss picture book manuscripts.

  27. Boosteck’s avatar

    Hey Lynnette,When I first started wrtiing, I LOVED critique groups. I was addicted. I was also soooo eager to be thick skinned that I was taking on EVERY bit of advice given to me. (uh, not good!) I still think it helped me grow a lot. It helped me grow to the point where I realized that to improve further, I needed to learn some things on my own. I read books on wrtiing, studied what I liked about the books I read, worked with a wrtiing coach on things like voice and style, learning what I did well naturally (so I could retain those qualities) as well as what my main areas of weakness were (so I could stay most open to changes in those areas). At that point, finding individuals who were a little bit beyond the beginner stage really helped me. I don’t think it would have been fair to trade with these people when I was starting out, but I’d hit the point where I’d outgrown my current critique group and needed partners who could help me take it to the next level. I found people who had opposite strengths and weaknesses as me, so I could be sure I was giving them something back. Still, sometimes I think I don’t deserve my crit partners! They are SO talented! Anyway I think this article asks some really great questions. I share my experience as a way of adding to this that maybe a writer should also re-asses these questions about the current critique groups every so often. I think I’d found about 5 partners who will definitely be my partners for the long haul, but you know what? I still post my work to groups or feedback sites every now and then, even to work with writers who are newer, because 1) There’s nothing like a fresh pair of eyes and the eager feedback of a new writers and 2) I want to give back to the wrtiing community. I was new once, too, and while I’m no old pro, I do know enough now to offer to others what had once been offered to me when I was first getting started.For me, the hardest part has been learning to trust my gut. It’s still all too easy for me sometimes to want to change something that 20 people loved by 1 person thought was bad. I always think maybe they just see something the other 20 people didn’t! For some writers, accepting criticism may be the hard part, but others of us, we do need to learn when to pass on some advice (I was impressed you included a question along those lines in your questionairre.) But it’s still the hardest part for me. I always worry am I really rejecting advice I don’t need, or am I being married to my words/story/character right now and I’m just too arrogant to see it? Anyway, that’s when I usually bring out the big guns and have my trusted critique partners help me hash out the advice and see what needs to be done. I’m growing more confident as, at least most of the time, my tried and trusted critiquers tell me I picked the right advice to pass on. In closing, though, I’d say that there is nothing like a skilled editor. Not only will hiring one (I recommend Lynnette HIGHLY) help you see what you are doing right and what you really do need to work on, but it really allows you to feel a little safer going along with most of the advice (that’s assuming you hire an editor who knows what they are doing. Again, I recommend Lynnette lol). Anyway, I’d say for anyone working on their book to find the right group as Lynnette suggests. Grow on your own, too. And when you’ve gotten as far as you can with critique groups and self-teaching, bring in a pro.Ya know like Lynnette.

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