The other day, my hubs was working on his “honey do” list and put together something—I have no idea what it was. The point is he set down a little bag of screws and suddenly couldn’t find it. But the bag was right beside him in plain sight. I had to point it out to him. His laugh was forced, being frustrated with himself for not seeing it.
As writers, don’t we do the same thing—not see what is in front of our eyes? That’s the reason I love my critique partners (CPs) and my editor. They see the “screws” in my prose. Those weasel words I miss, or when I forget to include the senses. They rush to my rescue and help me see the problems to fix.
Sometimes, when a writer is new at this gig, they … okay let me rephrase that.
When I was a new writer,
I was so sure I’d never be able to write another sentence as beautiful as the
one my CPs told me to delete. I knew they’d realize the error of their
suggestion and tell me to put it back. So I created a file for those stellar
sentences and paragraphs.
|Artwork by Ken Raney|
I kept it for a long time. Then one day, I realized my writerly muscles had developed. I had “guns” and I finally deleted the whole file. Somewhere along the way, my CPs had gained some knowledge and knew what they were talking about. Oops. My tongue got stuck in my cheek on that one. I trust my CPs and do 99.9% of every suggestion they make.
When I published and got an editor, I was filled with more gratitude for my CPs. After they got through with me, my editor didn’t have as much to change as she might have.
If you have good critique partners, treat them well. Love them and return the favor of tough critiques. We’ve been together for ten plus years and trust each other completely. I wish every author had CPs like mine. They know my voice and make suggestions that fit, not change it. I try to do the same for them. That’s a rare commodity and I value them highly.
I think I’ll declare this the official Critique Partners Day. So jump in and share. Tell me about your CPs.
While a floppy straw hat is her favorite, novelist Ane Mulligan has worn many including pro-family lobbyist, drama director, playwright, humor columnist, and novelist. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Ane writes her Southern-fried fiction in Sugar Hill, GA, where she resides with her artist husband, chef so, and a dog of Biblical proportion.. You can find Ane on her Southern-fried Fiction website, Google+, Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, and Pinterest.