You’ve spent 30 hours a week working on your book for months or years. Every chapter has a goal, and the characters live as vivaciously on paper as they have in your head. You’ve revised the manuscript three different times, edited chapters along the way, and you’re finally finished. Your manuscript is perfect, but you’re the only one who’s read it. What now?
What do you do after you’ve typed the last word and corrected the last detail of your manuscript? Well, who else has read your story? Has a fellow writer read it yet? If not, then the revision isn’t quite complete. No matter how many times you’ve read your manuscript, or your mom’s read it, it's a good idea to have a fellow writer (or three of them) critique the story.
Why Does Another Writer Need to Read Your Work?
As you hone your craft, you may not need as much help from a critique partner as you do in the beginning. But it’s best to have your manuscript critiqued by a fellow writer before sending it to an editor. Why?
You want to make sure your editor is given a manuscript that’s as polished as possible, so the editor can focus more on the important details, such as word choice, sentence structure, and grammatical errors, rather than spending the majority of their time fixing large problematic areas.
What Are Critique Partners?
Another writer (who’s often referred to as a critique partner) can point out problems, such as plot holes, flat characters, paragraphs with too much backstory, and more. It’s hard to see these mistakes on your own, but it’s much easier for a trusted critique partner (CP) to find them for you.
Some readers might be skilled as critique partners, but usually, a friend or parent who reads your work isn’t able to tell you how to fix writerly elements. Why? More likely than not, they haven’t studied the essential elements of creative writing. And even some writers may have a hard time pointing out developmental mistakes, but they usually provide beneficial insight.
Where Do You Find Critique Partners?
Once you locate a few potential critique partners, swap the first chapter of your manuscript. Exchanging chapters is an excellent way to gauge experience level, commitment, and make sure a CP is a good fit. Once you critique each other’s chapters, you’ll have a good idea if you like their critique style and advice. If you both agree to stick with each other, then exchange the rest of your manuscript and suggest a deadline to finish. Always include a deadline.
If you found this post helpful, please consider sharing it on social media. To hire me as your editor or ask a question, email me. I also offer free sample edits for the first 500 words. Have fun writing!
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