A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Monday, April 4, 2011

C is for Critique Partners and Cheerleaders

First things first -- the blog went through a COMPLETE redesign all thanks to blog extraordinaire Ginger Snaps (find her on Twitter at @GSnaps). We go waaaaaay back and I'm so glad that she decided not to charge me for her services to help me make the blog the frawesomesauceness that it is today. #hearts

Last Saturday's post touched on the importance of beta readers in the writing process. Again, it can't be said enough how invaluable some of the feedback I've gotten have been. It allowed me to see things that I may have otherwise missed because I was playing around on Twitter wasn't necessarily looking.

Critique Partners

Critique partners are much the same as beta readers, except in my definition they're the WIP Nazis amazingly honest people that tear your beloved work apart until it's all in bloody ruins. Overdramatic much? Yeah, okay, maybe a little. LOL

But their purpose is to basically look at your work from another writer's POV and tell you, from that differing perspective, what the hell is wrong with what you've written. Some critique partners tell it like it is and only point out what needs to be fixed or what suggestions can be made to even out the grammar, flow, structure, etc. Others will incorporate a little of the hard-ass critique with some lovin' for things that they liked throughout the chapter.

Fortunately for me, I have two amazing WIP Nazis critique partners who do the latter (see frawesomesauceness here and here) and I think the balance of good and bad help to both encourage and school me. Having just one side of the critique isn't very helpful because if all the feedback you're getting is bad, you end up feeling dejected and wanting to chuck your WIP into the flames of Hell hoping it'll burn up into itty bitty non-distinguishable pieces. *totally not from experience* LOL If all the feedback you get are good, it's a surefire road to complacency.

One of my CPs wrote an awesome post about the dangers of complacency. I mean, not that your work couldn't truly be awesome and fantastic, but let's face it, the writing can never stop getting better and there's always, ALWAYS room for improvement. I actually remember one of my CPs returning the first chapter to me filled with all kinds of suggestions, comments, changes, etc. and the first thing she said was "Please don't be scared off by the comments." The sea of red on my beloved chapter showed me (in a very nice concrit way) how to better my writing and also how to look beyond what was criticized and find a way for improvement. I'm so lucky to have other sets of eyes that aren't afraid to tell me the honest to goodness truth.


Just as important as beta readers and critique partners are the cheerleaders. They are the ones who are there to keep doling out encouragement to help get the book actually written. Another fortunate thing for me is that my beta readers and critique partners are also my cheerleaders. I can even picture @ashleighvegas going on with her pompoms and megaphone. Haha!

But cheerleaders are the support team that your writer stands on. They are the legs to the whole process because they are there when you get to that point where the delete button is looking mighty pretty or when you feel like all you've written is a piece of shit that no one else could possibly want to read. All writers have felt like that at some point in their journey, published and unpublished alike.

What are your thoughts on CPs and cheerleaders and how have they helped you in your journey?


  1. I could not do it without the beta readers and CP's and cheerleaders! Seriously they are amazing! I always think my writing is horrible compared against other author's works. CP's, beta's and cheerleaders remind me I am talented and I do write very well! Even if I have to change things here and there, it just makes the story better!!!

  2. I completely agree. When I read back to the first WIP I had been working on (which is now on the chopping block for a complete rewrite) and now to the current WIP I have, I'm astonished at the difference in quality. I'm glad your betas, CPs, and cheerleaders make you feel that way. It's always a very humbling and amazing thing to have a strong support system when writing! :D

  3. Great post, Ani! I agree with you completely. I guess I'm still relatively new to the whole CP thing (it's only been a few months!), but you and my other CPs have been truly invaluable. So thank you! <3

  4. Thanks Lori! :D I find it incredibly hard to believe you've only been doing the CP thing for a few months...LOL That first chapter, whoa, LOL... Ahem... The input and feedback you and my other CP have given me are definitely eye-opening and I really don't know where I'd be w/o both of you. *dabs eyes with pink tissues* So you're welcome and thank YOU! <3

  5. Fantastic post. I absolutely agree. I don't think I would be anywhere with my writing if it wasn't for my critique partners. And, they are definitely always there for me with the ups and downs.

  6. OMG Your blog is beautiful! I love love it!

    This post is ab fab. Crit partners are the glue that holds the drafts together! The hard part is letting my work out of my hands to be read without looming over the threshold to explain all things!!

  7. @Cheree Definitely the ups and downs. I've had multiple instances where I almost deleted my previous WIP. LOL

    @Corinne Thanks sugarplum! I try not to lurk around my email when I have a chapter out with betas and CPs. Fortunately for me, my beta reads it as soon as she sees she has an email. LOL

  8. Just started CP on She Writes. Brilliant resource. I don't have issue with other people's suggestions for change because that's why I'm there. The only annoying thing is US think UK shouldn't use there own sayings/phrases/language in case someone in US buys the book and doesn't understand it? I have that all the time in US books but I just find out what it means? Doesn't stop my reading or enjoying the book?

    Great post - found and following you on twitter also participating in the challenge (twitter name shahw1) Shah .X