I had read about critique partners on several loops and knew the time had come to search for one. I wanted someone who was at approximately the same state of career development as I am and someone committed to publication. Imagine my surprise and excitement when nine PRO members responded to my email.
One by one, my prospective CP’s and I took to the dance floor. This led to back-and-forth emailing, introducing ourselves and clearly stating the timeline we each envisioned for exchanging work. I wanted a CP who would agree to critiquing one chapter per week, keeping the door open for brainstorming premises and sharing synopses, if needed. Still, I based finding a good fit on several more important points.
Next, began a “trial run” by exchanging and critiquing a chapter. This can be a sticky process, requiring a combination of honesty and tact from both parties. If the other writer’s critique style didn’t seem a good match, or if either of us felt the other writer was at a different point in the craft, we would go no further. Parting as professionals is paramount.
Reading and critiquing the exchanged chapters proved fun and well worth the hours-long effort, which spanned close to two weeks. After this intense period I found what I felt would be the best partner. Fortunately, she wanted me, too.
I’m happy to report my new critique partner and I enjoy a lively exchange of work, which has re-energized not only my writing and editing, but my overall outlook. I only wish I had taken this step a year ago.
Today I think about ways to streamline finding a CP, but can’t come up with a better plan. Mine worked for me. The side benefit, bonding with a new friend, is the sweetest bonus.