Many people think writing a novel is a solo activity when it is not. Sure, the drafting process is (usually) a job for a single individual, but the editing work and much of what happens after the rough draft is finished is a team effort. Most authors have a small circle of critique buddies they rely on to help fix plot problems, strengthen their writing, and otherwise improve their book.
So, how do you go about finding a critique buddy? That’s the hard part. With so many authors and writers out there, it’s difficult finding someone who is as serious as you are and near to your level or better than you in skill.
Find at least one person who is more skilled at writing.
The idea of having a critique buddy is to improve your novel and your writing skills. This means you need to work with someone who has more skills than you do or is as skilled as you are. Two people with similar skill levels can really help each other improve. The linchpin of this arrangement is that both of you actively want to improve your writing – and your partner’s writing.
Find at least one person who is less skilled at writing.
By helping other writers improve their writing, it becomes possible to see basic mistakes in our own. This only works, however, if you take the time to explain why something is an error. In order to explain a concept to another writer, you have to have a deeper understanding of what you’re trying to teach. If you can teach something to another person, such as the difference between telling and showing, it becomes possible to master that skill in your own writing.
Not Everyone Makes a Good Critique Buddy
When you’re trying to find a critique buddy, you need to find someone who works well with you. There is a lot of diplomacy involved in critiquing a novel for a stranger, and this can often lead to people being less than honest about their feelings for a book. You need to find someone who will be honest with you, help you improve your writing skills, and most importantly, help you improve your novel. At the same time, you need to be willing to do the same thing for your writing partner.
Where to Find Critique Buddies
Knowing what you need in a critique buddy is only part of the battle. Finding a critique buddy can be a difficult task if you don’t know where to look.
Online Writing Workshops
Online workshops, including critique circle (critiquecircle.com), authonomy (authonomy.com), and book country (bookcountry.com) are great places to meet people and find potential critiquing buddies. All of these workshops involve critiquing or reviewing of other members, so they are also excellent places to learn or improve your editorial skills.
Social Media Networks
Whether you’re a fan of twitter, facebook, or google+, social media networks can be a surprisingly good place to find like-minded writers who also need a critique buddy. Don’t just accept any old Joe to be your critique buddy, though. Critiquing a single chapter is a good way to get an idea of whether or not someone you find on one of the social media networks is a good fit for you.
Real-Life Critique Groups
Meet ups and critique groups hosted at libraries, coffee shops, and book stores can be a great way to improve your writing – if you can find the super-secret group’s gathering point and wrangle an invitation to join them. These groups are often exclusive, requiring a writing-quality check before you can get an invitation, and may be difficult to find. Not all groups are like this, but it’s really dependent on your location. Small towns often don’t have enough writers to support a writing critique group.
NaNoWriMo and Other Competitions
National Novel Writing Month, as well as other large-scale writing competitions, can be an excellent way to find critiquing buddies. Talk with other participants, and see if there are a few people you might work well with.
Good luck with your writing!
Kalen’s throne is his saddle, his crown is the dirt on his brow, and his right to rule is sealed in the blood that stains his hand. Few know the truth about the one-armed Rift King, and he prefers it that way. When people get too close to him, they either betray him or die. The Rift he rules cares nothing for the weak. More often than not, even the strong fail to survive.
When he’s abducted, his disappearance threatens to destroy his home, his people, and start a hopeless and bloody war. There are many who desire his death, and few who hope for his survival. With peace in the Six Kingdoms quickly crumbling, it falls on him to try to stop the conflict swiftly taking the entire continent by storm.
But something even more terrifying than the machinations of men has returned to the lands: The skreed. They haven’t been seen for a thousand years, and even the true power of the Rift King might not be enough to save his people — and the world — from destruction.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG – 13
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