Sunday, December 19, 2010

My CP is Many Things. Is Yours?

I was matched up with my Critique Partner (CP) by someone in a state-wide writers group. Fortunate, fortunate me. She helps me in so many ways. Here's how I count the ways:

1. My CP is an ear nipper when she finds my Boo Boos.

Example Boo Boo: [ He winded at Jane as he handed her the drink. ]

CP says: You probably meant 'k' instead of 'd'.

My typing fingers are dyslexic. Left middle finger, right middle finger, left middle finger, right middle finger.

Another example Boo Boo: [ Rolly gazed around, looking content and fortunate to be there. ]

CP says: Can a person actually look fortunate?

Well, of course he can. I thought it and wrote it, didn't I? But, well, yeah, okay, I guess. Damn it, she's right.

2. My CP is a cattle prod when she finds my Uh Ohs.

Example Uh Oh: [ Jane nodded. "Okay," she said quietly. Rolly looked back at Jane expectantly. ]

CP says: Telling with the adverbs; try showing instead.

Roger that. Third one this page. How is she putting up with me?

Another example Uh Oh: [ Jane grimaced and looked disgusted for a few seconds. But then Rolly noticed: Jane's whole body seemed to relax and a far away smile appeared on her face. ]

CP says: Head hopping, again; Jane POV was the goal, right?

Sigh. Bang head on desk.

3. My CP is a hand grenade when she finds my Oh Craps.

Example Oh Craps: [ whole book ]

CP says: The antagonist is kind of cardboard one-dimensional.

CP says: Jane couldn't have known about the accident; she was in a coma at the time.

CP says: I thought Rolly wanted a new life, but now I realize I was getting that all wrong.

Claw my way out of the crater of self doubt. Slowly. This really hurts. I'm guilty of weak characterization, plot blunders, and cluelessly misleading narrative. How many times am I going to have to rewrite this book? Answer: It will be fewer the better I learn from my CP.

Are you not as fortunate as I am to have a great proofreader and editor? Well, get thee to a CP!

Got one already? Lucky you.

10 comments:

Mona Risk said...

Quinn, a good CP is the best friend a writer can have. I am blessed with two wonderful CPs that I will not trade for all the gold of this world. Wink at Helen and Joan.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

I know how blessed I am with two CP's and now am considered a writer because of their patience, understanding and knowledge - Oh, yes, and their love. When I first started I knew something was wrong but didn't know what or, if I knew what, wouldn't have known how to fix it. NO MORE! I may not always fix it right the first time, but I love my safety net. My two beautiful, wonderful CP's. No more tossing my words against the wall and hoping they stick...

Lu said...

I have been blessed with many excellent cps since I started this writing business. I currently have two local cps with whom I meet on a weekly basis. They are brutal but kind, and they always have a fabulous solution to any problems in my story. I also have two long-distance cps, one in NC and one in TX. We meet up online whenever we need an extra push, prod or hug. I honestly don't think I'd be published now without their help and guidance.

Joan Leacott said...

I don't know what I'd do without Helen and Mona--fail miserably, most likely. We met in the FTHRW critique group and lived happily ever after.

Delaney Diamond said...

My CP has become a great friend. Not only do we critique each other's work, but we share our goals and hold each other accountable. We met at a Georgia Romance Writers meeting, and I'm so glad we did.

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Critique partners can be worth their weight in gold. Mine are terrific about catching my name spelling changes!!! :) And one of my CPs is a bear about "just"...couldn't do without them!

Barbara Mountjoy said...

I agree, Mona! My CP is a former English teacher and high school librarian--nothing gets past her!


Alana Lorens

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Vonnie Davis said...

My husband, a retired English teacher and author, is my critique partner. Initially I took all of his critiques personally, but I'm growing a thicker skin. More importantly, I'm becoming a stronger writer. My agent does very strict editing of my manuscripts, too.

Joanne said...

Quinn,
The wonderful critique group at FTH helped me so much. I never would have been able to improve my writing without them.