Recently I attended a chat at the My Book Therapy ning center (fabulous place if you haven't looked it up) about critiquing and critique partners. One of the gals attending the chat asked: when do I know I'm ready to critique someone else's work?
My fingers were just itching to post a response to her question, but I held back in respect for the speaker. ;-)
My response (had I given it?): "Are you a reader?"
Seriously. Are you a reader?
If you're a reader, thus you can critique.
Let me explain, because I have an addendum to that statement: are you an avid reader? If you pretty much dream, eat and sleep and forget-to-make-dinner reading, then most likely you'll make a pretty good critique partner.
That is point #1. If you can do this top one, you can critique. Yes, it's really as simple as that.
|My awesome CP Andrea Nell, 2011 Frasier winner|
& 2012 Genesis Semi-Finalist
Want to be an even better critique partner?
Read on the industry. You should be doing this for your own personal benefit as well, but it will spill over into your CP's needs. Study craft books, read professional websites and learn.
Point #3. Okay, be a reader, be a study-er. If you are both of these, you're getting better and better all the time!
So you read. You're writing a novel (doesn't always need to be a prerequisite. My grandmother is an awesome critter and she doesn't write. ;-). You're able to share your thoughts coherently. And you are reading up on the industry.
Point #4....are you currently editing your own work? Most likely if you're searching for a CP, you're already writing. If you are editing your own work, this gives you an editor's eye. You're already in the mindset of making things better.
We've got a road map, we know where to go from here and you just might very well be great CP material.
Read and read lots. Be critical of your read and why you like it. Or don't.
Keep writing and editing.
Study the industry.
Don't let fear of not being "good enough" stop you.
One word of advice to new CP's: Don't be intimidated. You have something to offer. Follow the roadmap and you'll help someone.
Don't critique as though you know it all. (no one really does)
Be courteous and realize you are learning on another author. They get it. They understand and guess what...you might have advice they need to hear.
Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Don't let your "lack of experience" stop you from critiquing. It's not a matter of who is better than so-and-so. Or whether your skill set matches the other. You might have an eye that picks up on something your CP had never thought of. And if you continue to stand on the sidelines "until your ready", you'll never get up and dance.
Joining a critique relationship should not be as complicated as we make it. It seems that way, it takes time to build trust, but it's not a if-I-don't-breathe-right-my-CP-will-dump-me formula.
Remember: we can all learn from each other. No matter what level we are at.
What's your best CP advice?