When I was a teenager, I thought I knew everything.
Exhibit A – Meet Teenage Poppy
I think it’s pretty obvious that anyone who thought those earnings (or those bangs) were a good fashion choice, cannot be trusted! The funny thing is that at times I still have that “Know it all” attitude. I often jump into things thinking I know exactly what I want. But life has taught me that sometimes the best things come to us without any help or manipulation from us. So often, when I shut up and sit down, cool things happen.
As I’ve been getting serious about finally finishing my book, I’ve been learning more and more about writing culture. Suddenly I started hearing words and phrases like Line Edits, Query, Beta Reader. I also started hearing a lot of authors thank their Critique Partner (or CP for short). The more I learned about what a critique partner was, the more I decided I was interested in finding one. I initially thought a CP was someone who read your manuscript once it was done, and gave you some feedback to help during revisions. But just like teenage Poppy, I learned that I don’t “Know it all” when it comes to defining what a CP is!
I called my search for a CP critHarmony because I’ve learned that finding a critique partner is a lot like dating! When I decided to start looking, I knew that I wanted more than just manuscript critique’s. I was also looking for someone to take the journey of writing a book with. And even though I was still early on in my search, there was a part of me that thought it would be impossible to find what I wanted. And then something pretty cool happened…
It All Started With a Web-Search…
I dream about the day I’ll finish my book, get an agent and get published. And I’ll admit that I’ve already got ideas for my release party in my head! One day I was searching for blog posts about YA book release parties when I stumbled upon an interesting post. It was written by a writer who’d gone to Tahereh Mafi’s release party. On a side note, Tahereh wrote Shatter Me, and if you haven’t read it, you need to! Okay, back to my story…I read the post, commented, and then went on to read through the rest of her blog, which I really enjoyed. I liked the blog so much, I added it to my favorites list, and followed the blog author on twitter.
At the time I was looking for a CP, but I thought I was more interested in working with a group. I’d just participated in WriteOnCon, and had even posted on the message boards that I was looking to form a writing/critique group. I got some responses, but what I found is that few people were really as interested or invested as I was. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Different people are looking for different things in a CP. For me, I was really looking for someone to match my drive and focus.
Not long after I visited her blog, she visited mine, and discovered that I was looking for a CP. She made the first move by sending me the most fantastic CP e-mail ever. I’ve never told her this, but when I got the e-mail her name looked familiar, so I did a little search to figure out exactly who she was. When I realized it was her, I did a little happy dance before I messaged her back! In her initial e-mail, she told me a little about herself, and she also included the reasons why she thought we’d make good CP’s. Here’s one of her reasons:
“You describe yourself as a bookworm, vegetarian, and sci-fi geek. I am also all of those things. In fact, when I told my husband about you, he asked if I cloned myself.”
In line with my critHarmony analogy, we sent multiple e-mails back and forth, asking each other questions to determine if we were a good fit. I was so excited when I received her first e-mail that I was really hoping it would work, and it did! It’s been great having her as a CP, and even though I’m still in the process of finishing my manuscript, she’s already helped me in so many ways!
I don’t think I anticipated how much having a CP would help my writing. Just the act of telling another writer about my story (in detail), has been hugely helpful. She had tons of questions, and as I answered them, something cool happened. Some of my plot holes started to fill in!
We’re still in the beginning stages of our journey as critique partner’s, but I can tell that we’re headed somewhere great! I’m so excited for you all to meet her and hear about No Man’s Land, the fantastic manuscript that she’s working on.
So make sure you come back tomorrow, when I will be revealing the identity of my CP!