Changing the world's opinion… as soon as we finish this math homework
Hey, guys! My name is Julia and I’m one of the new admins here at TCWT. I can’t tell you how much I look up to John and everyone else on our team, and I’m so excited to be part of this awesome community. (But don’t tell John I said that.)
SPEAKING OF COMMUNITIES (check out them transition skillz), our theme for January is, you guessed it, “Community.”
I wasn’t sure what to write on this topic at first, because there’s so much you can talk about when it comes to community, especially when it comes to writers. (We all know book people are the best.) Then I got revision notes on a novel from a round of critique partners this past week and my brain was like, “BOOM. BLOG POST TOPIC.”
Critique partners rock, you guys. They are the underappreciated backbone of the writing world.
Which isn’t to say that people don’t appreciate them, because I can’t imagine the sort of heartless villain you’d have to be to not appreciate a good critique partner. But they are underappreciated in the sense that it is IMPOSSIBLE TO APPRECIATE THEM ENOUGH.
Here are just a few of the amazing things critique partners do for our stories (and us):
Point out problems we can’t see ourselves.
I don’t know about you, but no matter how many times I go through a novel, I can’t catch all the problems myself. CPs are able to see our writing from an objective perspective that we’ll never be able to have. The number of things my critique partners have caught that I never even thought about on my own is astounding.
Help us think through problems we CAN see ourselves, but can’t figure out how to fix on our own.
Getting a second brain on a problem can be such a help, whether your CP is coming up with ideas for fixes with you, or just listening to your (possibly insane) ramblings while you think “out loud.” (I put “out loud” in quotation marks because, let’s be honest, we’re writers. We’ll probably think via email or IM or even carrier pigeon before we’ll even think about thinking out loud.)
Keep us sane during the long months of waiting.
If there’s one thing the publishing industry likes to do more than publish books, it’s make you wait. Regularly. For long, who-knows-when-this-torture-is-ever-going-to-end stretches of time. Who else but a critique partner is going to keep you distracted while waiting to hear back from a lit agent on that especially promising full manuscript request with endless Harry Potter references and cute baby animal videos?
Remind us our writing is worthwhile.
CPs are there for us through EVERYTHING. They point out strengths in our writing we don’t notice ourselves, help us hold on when letting go becomes tantalizingly easy, and celebrate with us when things go right. (Also threaten very-scary-sounding bodily harm to any who dare reject our Amazing Manuscripts that Are Sure to Be Bestsellers Someday Don’t Even Kid Us—but we don’t talk about that in public, shhh.)
In short: Critique partners really are the backbone of the writing world.
To my CPs: I can’t thank you enough. I don’t know what I did to make you decide to put up with me all these years, but I guarantee I don’t deserve you. You’re all my favorites.
Also, I might need to think “out loud” (*cough* via Skype) with you soon.