How did you find your CP(s)?

Last week when I posted my final #Writer Recharge update, I had so many amazing and encouraging and complimentary comments about my progress — thank you all SO MUCH! There was a part of one comment (from Stephanie Scott, who participates in WUW and is wonderful) that stuck with me…

She asked: How did you find your critique partners? I have a few but I’m always curious where writers find theirs.

I actually wonder this myself, so I thought it’d be fun to chat about it here today.

I have a couple of amazing critique partners (Alison and Temre) who I rely on not only for their thoughtful feedback on my stories, but for their help in the general maintaining of my sanity. I connected with both of them online (we text and email frequently, but we haven’t met in person yet — someday!). To be honest, I can’t remember where, exactly, I “found” them. Alison (I think) through our blogs, and Temre (I think) through Twitter? I’ve been working with them both for a few years now (wow) and while they write stories that are pretty different from the stories I write, we work. I’ve learned so much from the feedback they offer me, and from the incredible stories they write and allow me to read. (Seriously. I feel like a total hack after I read their work. Every. Single. Time.)

In addition to Alison and Temre, there are several writers who I trade beta reads with, all remarkable in their own right. Most are listed to the left over there (Christa, Jessica, and Taryn, fairly regularly). They all have particular strengths which have taught me so much about writing and critiquing and friendship.

Thank you a million times to everyone who’s taken the time to read my stories, and to everyone who has trusted me to read theirs. The whole “critique” aspect of writing can be spectacularly nerve-wracking, and I feel so lucky to have had a lot of really wonderful experiences.

(Image credit: InkyGirl.com)

So, that’s me. And now I’m curious…
Where did you find your critique partners? 

(Are you still looking for a CP? Feel free to use the comments section of this post to link up with other seeking writers!) 

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29 responses to “How did you find your CP(s)?

  1. What a great topic Katy.
    I’ve struggled with CP partners, really struggled. Mostly because all my stories have a lot of historical content and I’ve found many people either don’t know the history well enough or, more often, don’t “get” the speech of that period.

    In the end, I’ve found for me at least, I have taken the path of “many cooks don’t spoil the broth” – by that I mean I’ve let a lot of people read and offer feedback and I’ve looked for patterns, consistently similar comments, issues with holes in historical that I skimmed over… etc.

    And my biggest and hardest crit partner is my dad. He is tough, He’s Croatian, I think Tough Love is part of our DNA! lol — but he’s been awesome with grammar, structure, flow, voice, tension, etc.

    I know many would say “seriously, your dad?” But trust me there’s no sugar coating when he’s reading my material.

    • You’re so lucky to have a family member who can also serve as a critic, Nik! I’m pretty sure all of mine would read my work and tell me it’s lovely, whether it is or not. And I feel you on the history thing… That’s such a specific interest/genre. Here’s hoping you’re able to find a CP match who works for you very soon!

  2. I asked someone on FB this just today. So, I appreciate you writing this! I’m searching for a CP, but I am hoping to find one for the long haul. I have a bunch of weaknesses and maybe we can compliment each other. I’m not worried. Fate will step in at some point.

    • I think CPs who have strengths where you are weaker and vice-versa are a great find. I’ve learned so much from the feedback my CPs give me, and I like to think I’m absorbing their strengths a little bit every time I read for them. That’s totally how it works, right? 🙂

  3. Hey Winterbayne, what’s you’re genre/age group?

  4. Thanks for posting this Katy, very timely! I think you learn so much from focusing on helping another writer with their work. For some reason, you can see the speck on the page for someone else and miss it entirely in your own work. But the longer you SEE it either way, sooner or later you are going to stop doing that “thing” that is wrong.

    • I agree, Kim. I get so close to my stories when I’m drafting, a lot of times I can feel that something’s off, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. My CPs are very good at that, and they give awesome suggestions for fixing those issues.

  5. I ❤ this! My first CP was Jaime, and I "popped" the question per email…:-) Different people bring different feedback and I find my work SO. MUCH. STRONGER thanks to my CPs and beta.
    And on top of it, they become great friends 🙂

  6. I think I’ve found everyone that reads for me (or vice versa) through blogs or Twitter, although no idea how/when we first started following each other. With my next WIP (still in the SNI stage), I will probably ask some IRL guys for a read-through because the MC is a guy and I want to make sure he sounds authentically “boy.”

    • Ooh, I do love a great guy MC. You know who writes guy POVs amazingly well — like, so well you’d never guess if you didn’t know better? Alison Miller. 🙂 Best of luck finding some IRL male readers, and yay for your SNI! Can’t wait to hear more about it!

  7. Aw, Katy, this post just makes me feel so incredibly grateful. I think all the time about how lucky I am to have connected with you and what an honor it is to read your BEAUTIFUL stories, to cheer you on along this journey (and lean on each other!), and to have found such a special friend ❤ I am still not quite sure how I got so lucky!

  8. Love this post, Katy. I found my CPs through a workshop we all did with Nova Ren Suma. It has completely changed my writing life to have the other writers in my camp, and to be in theirs!

    • I’ve looked into Nova Ren Suma’s workshops before, Rebekah, and they sound amazing. I hope to be able to take one someday. I bet you learned so much, and it’s very cool that you were able to connect with CPs through it as well.

  9. I do not have those kinds of CPs, to my eternal sadness. I do have some good beta readers, though, that help me a lot. Everything else i just have to tackle pretty much on my own

  10. Snaps for social media! I found my first betas through my blog and twitter, and they are the ones who really got my started off right with writing. As for my CPs, I found them through How About We CP, an amazing tumblr resource that I suggest all non-CPed (but want to be) writers use (I’m still getting requests from my old post) http://howaboutwecp.tumblr.com/.

    It’s run by lit agent Jessica Sinsheimer, and it and she are lifesavers!

  11. Rachelwrites007

    I’ve definitely had a LONG search. I wrote fantasy originally and had my college RA read my stuff. Then I realized I hated editing, I hated world building and my fantasy made zero sense, so I switched to contemporary. I found a few beta readers through Absolute Write, did minimal edits (seriously), and queried. So I pretty much queried a first draft. LOL! Then I got an R&R and decided I probably NEEDED to revise. I found my now-and-forever CPs, Rachel and Jenna through contests and Twitter. They read ALL of my stuff, even the multiple e-mails a day and texts a day I send. LOL. I’ve been lucky that I got to meet Rachel in person (she flew over the country to hang out for 4 days…BEST sleepover ever!), and although I have yet to meet Jenna in person I look forward to the day we can (she lives in Canada). Also its really funny- both Rachel and Jenna got their agents on their 3rd ms and announced their agent stories on the same day. (I had to scramble to write both blog posts on my blog cheering them on). The book you just read for me (THANK YOU THANK YOU XA 1000) is my 3rd book… 😉 so we’ll see what happens!

    • Yeah… My very first MS was more lightly edited than revised when I started querying. To be fair, I didn’t really know the difference back then, and it sounds like maybe you didn’t either. Steep learning curve with this writing gig. 🙂 And I’m so happy that my notes were helpful to you, Rachel! It was such an honor to read your story. Loved it!

  12. Alison Miller

    What a wonderful post! Thank you for your kind words and uh, the hack feeling is mutual (your stories…GAH). Most of my wonderful CP relationships have come through blogging, but I have been fortunate enough to meet some of my readers IRL. A definite MUST FIX for us, like, SOON. 🙂

    Have a great week, Katy! This CP will be neurotically emailing you a lot (sorry), but good luck with your revisions!!!

  13. I’ve been lucky to find my CPs in person through my MFA program, SCBWI and conferences. I’m glad you found some great ones online!

    As I’ve said in the past, if you need another beta reader, let me know! 🙂

  14. I have a few a few IRL writer friends that I swap manuscripts with on occasion, and I’ve met other people online. I am actually currently searching for new beta readers though. Like, right now. So Katy, or any of Katy’s friends, do you want to read my second book?

  15. I’ve had a few missed connections with potential critique partners, and a really bad experience with a would-be beta who even criticised the fact that I don’t use that ugly Times New Roman. I’ve tried the usual places suggested, but either the boards are dead, no one’s interested in historical, or I haven’t gotten responses. I’m well aware that I tend towards very heavy, serious, long books, which might frighten some people off, but one could only read a few chapters at a time instead of the whole thing.

    I’m glad for the opportunity of my Sunday Weekend Writing Warriors hop, formerly Six Sentence Sunday, and for the former Sweet Saturday Samples weekly hop. A lot of people have positively responded to what I’ve shared (many of which were pretty long excerpts!), so that gave me validation.

  16. Katy, you are THE BEST. I’m so glad I met you online (however we met…who even knows anymore), and I’m so glad I have you in my corner helping me become a better writer! I’m also so, so lucky to get to read your amazing writing!

    • Ditto, Jess! I feel super lucky to get a sneak-peek at your work. Love your books, and can’t wait to have PUSH GIRL *and* IN REAL LIFE on my bookshelf!