Thankful Thursday: When to Say “Thanks” to a Critique Partner

It’s a good time to thank your critique partner when:

  • They point out that your first chapter would be a lot more interesting if you started…there (usually a LOT further in).
  • They show you the place they lost track of which character is saying what.
  • They tell you that they laughed out loud three times when they read your scene. Especially if you actually wanted those moments to be funny.
  • They offer to do a final read-through of the whole manuscript (not the first time) when you are ready to query agents. And they promise to mark only things that make them want to scream, “You can’t send it out with THIS!!!!”
  • They circle the six times you wrote “She looked at…” on the same page.
  • They put a smiley face in the margin of your manuscript.
  • They help you brainstorm a plot problem.
  • They celebrate with you–at the end of your first draft, at the end of each revision, when you send your first query letter, when you get a request for more. And so on. You get the point. Lots of celebrations.
  • They make a throw-away suggestion that sets fire to an entirely new, perfect path for your story.
  • They say, “Of course, send four chapters instead of two.”
  • They tell you, gently, that a character is still….a…little…boring. And then they pat your hand and remind you that you can fix this problem.

Okay, I’ve got a bit of a hidden message here, although probably not too hidden. Yes, these are things you want to thank your critique partners for. They’re also things, of course, that you want them to be able to thank you for! Everybody in a critique group wears both hats–critiquer and writer. And, in a strong group, my list barely touches the surface of things to be thankful for.

So, for today–Terri, Beth, Cyndy, and Jana–Thank you!

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19 thoughts on “Thankful Thursday: When to Say “Thanks” to a Critique Partner

  1. Wow…that is some dream, critique partner check list! So glad it is a reality for you. Especially the celebrating part. And, the laughing part. And, the gentle pat on the hand. That’s the best.

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  2. Great list! I LOVE my critique group. They’ve helped me become such a better writer than I used to be. I would add, “They bolster your spirits when you are down and remind you that you ARE a good writer.” And they really mean it 🙂

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  3. Sharing the creative process is such an intimate thing. My critique group partners are my best friends, the ones I know I can count on because I have laid bare my soul on those double-spaced pages and they haven’t laughed at it or disparaged it…in fact they have held it in with great love and care. Thank YOU, Becky.

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  4. cfurze says:

    Becky–not only do you do a great job telling us what to be grateful for, but we are grateful to you. I would add to your list:
    those times when you leave the group pissy at all of them for telling you just what you need to know but didn’t really want to hear–because they care that much about your work.

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  5. The right readers can make such a world of difference in our manuscript. Having just the right way of offering insights is so important for the editing rounds, motivating us to really make the words shine.

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