This is a guest post by Jessica Bayliss.
I’ve been very much looking forward to writing this next post in my It’s a Writer Thing series on feedback. In the first, I wrote about general considerations for receiving feedback, and in the second, I discussed types of feedback.
This time, I’ll be talking about critique partners. As we know, one of our biggest sources of input comes from our critique partners, or CPs. These are trusted friends or colleagues who we give our babies to and hope they’ll thoroughly, but gently, tell us how our darling is flawed. Not an easy role, for sure. When we’re on the receiving end, it can be challenging—like find me a big old bucket cause I may be at risk for emesis challenging—but we’ve already discussed why this is an important process, and we’re strong—right?—so we can get through it.
So, we wrote a story, and we braved feedback from our CP or from multiple CPs, which is even better, therefore, we must be good to go and start submitting or querying. Right?
It turns out, it pays to be strategic about the people we solicit critiques from. Having only one kind of CP can result in feedback that is one-sided or not broad enough. We can suffer from too much here’s-what-you-need-to-do-differently and not enough here’s-what-I-loved. We may get only line edits or suggestions about tightening our prose, but nothing on overarching plot problems. We may get a perspective that is too focused on action and not enough on emotion.
See my point?
Finding good CPs can be a challenge, but actually, if we consider that there are many types of CPs, we can learn to think about how each individual’s input fills an important niche for us. These are the various styles of CPs I’ve encountered in my writing, so far.
Not only are these categories useful as we consider which CPs to ask for feedback from, they’re also good for our own self-analysis. When it’s our turn to give the critique, we can use these to figure out what kind of CP we are and share that with our writer friends so they can determine whether our feedback will be useful to them at that particular time for that particular story.
This article was also posted on www.jessicabaylisswrites.com as a part of the “It’s A Writer Thing” series.