Anyone who has read my previous blog posts or follows me on social media, knows the one thing I talk about a lot is my critique partner. Whether it be discussing my process of how I write my books, gushing about my community of writers, or sharing wonderful news. My critique partner is my partner in crime, my swan sister, and the one person I’ve been on this crazy ride with the longest. We’ve shared ups and downs, highs and lows, and also about fifty text messages a day. In my opinion, a good critique partner is key to shaping your manuscript, as well as helping to keep you sane!
I’ve been asked before how my CP and fellow romance writer, Samantha Keith, and I connected. You see, she lives all the way up in Canada while I’m in Ohio. Until this summer at Romance Writers of America’s national conference , we had never met. Hell, we’d never even spoken on the phone! I’d like to think that fate stepped in over two years ago…and by fate, I mean Pitch Wars.
Have you heard of it? If not and you are a writer looking for a chance to get your manuscript critiqued by a mentor and be a part of a great community, go on twitter and look it up…now! Wish lists were posted last week! Seriously, go read about it, and then you can come back and finish this post. Pitch Wars selects authors with experience and passion to be mentors. These mentors then post a wish list of what type of manuscript they wish to work with and then wait for all the submissions to pour in. Each mentor picks one writer to work with. Then there’s a crazy Pitch Party on twitter where agents and editors scour the pitches of these lucky mentees and make requests. Sounds cool, right?
Well, I thought so two years ago. The coolest part was something I never expected. A Facebook group was created for all the romance writers who entered! I met some great people who I still have contact with and cheer on today. I also met my Critique Partner. Knowing the chance of selection for Pitch Wars was slim, people were actively seeking others to look at their work and help them make it better. Samantha and I matched up and the rest is history.
So what makes a great CP? You need to find someone who you just click with. I’m super lucky Samantha and I clicked on every level, and I’ve picked up another CP along the way I’ve just started working with. You need someone you trust, not only with viewing your work but whose opinion and comments makes sense for you and your manuscript. You need to keep an open mind and not be defensive about their comments and suggestions, as well as making sure they give criticism in a helpful and constructive way. Samantha helped me take a first draft I thought was pretty damn good (boy was I wrong!) and turn it into a contracted novel! We have each spent hours of our time reading, critiquing, and encouraging one another. We are each others biggest fans, as well as the one the other turns to for a swift kick in the ass when needed.
One thing I have learned in the last few years is the more I put myself out there, the more I get back. Enter contests, join writers groups online and in your community, be a part of a conversation. Even rejection can lead to positive outcomes. I never made it into Pitch Wars, but in my opinion I ended up with something much more valuable. A critique partner who helped shape the course of my career and best friend to lean on…even if she lives hundreds of miles away.
For more on how I’ve built my Tribe check out my post https://daniellemhaas.com/2016/08/09/finding-my-tribe/