Friday, July 8, 2011

Finding a Critique Partner: Your Manuscript's First Date

Oh, my baby's growing up and wants to start dating. No, not my daughter! My manuscript. Yes, she's still young. In fact, she's only a couple of chapters old, but she keeps telling me that she wants to get to know other people, see the wide world, expand her horizons. She's been all plotted out, she tells me, doesn't that mean she's old enough?

Well, maybe my sweet little baby has a point. Usually when I write, I hold my baby to my chest and don't let her out to see other people until I'm sure that she's mature. But I've been craving the input of other writers. It's a lonely business, this writing, and I've been thinking for a while now that I'd really like to find a critique partner. I get so jealous when I hear other writer's talk about theirs that it brings back all those feelings from junior high when the boy I liked had a crush on some other girl.

I was really lucky a couple of months ago to find a reader who offered to beta read my middle grade novel for me. She was WONDERFUL. She pointed out problems that I'd never noticed because I was too close to the project and she had really great ideas for fixing things. This taste of a critique partner made me crave this sort of feedback all the time. The only problem was that my reader wasn't a writer and I couldn't return the favor. I really wanted to find another writer that would need me as much as I need her.

So last night, during my sleepless 2 a.m. jaunt, I decided to put an ad out for a critique partner on WriteOnCon. I've been married since I was very young, so I've never done the whole internet dating thing, but it sure felt like I was putting myself out there in the same sort of way. What if no one liked me and my manuscript? What if they thought we weren't pretty enough, or smart enough, or funny enough?

Well, I've got my fingers crossed that my manuscript and I are going to find just the right match, and hopefully it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship (cue schmaltzy music and sunset).


  1. Hi Kate,

    I just wanted to let you know about an awesome new site It's a free critique-partner matching site for female writers and caters to every genre! We will be opening the doors very soon! Hope to see you over there, so that you can meet 'the one!'

  2. I would also look at the Absolute Write forums. There is a thread for people who want to be beta readers and have others critique their manuscripts.

  3. This post is so cute! I really enjoyed reading it! I hope you find THE ONE. I can remember when I first searched for a critique partner, it's tough finding the right one. I now have several, and I too started with WriteOnCon and then did NaNoWriMo. You can also meet them on twitter and Querytracker. Good luck! :D

  4. lol! Aww, I never thought of it that way...but it is weird cause we do think of our manuscripts as our babies. I also need to find a beta reader. But I am afraid too. lol. I don't think my boyfriend does a very good job at it, though he does read my books religiously. There's a difference in reading for fun and reading to critique.