Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Love Letter to My CPs*

To my Critique Partners,

I love you ladies. No, really. I love you. You are worth your weight in chocolate.

You make me laugh until my sides hurt. When I'm down, you pick me up. I don't even have to be down about writing-related stuff. When I'm up, you celebrate with me.

You write beautiful stories that make me laugh. You write such compelling stories that I sit and read for hours at a stretch, even when I'm supposed to be working or cleaning (well, especially when I'm supposed to be cleaning).

It took me a long time to find CPs that worked for me. Like most writers, I started this process with no idea what I was supposed to be doing. I dashed off a query letter for a manuscript no one had read but me. I had a friend read for inconsistencies, but said, "I'll proofread - don't worry about the typos."

I was so, so very naive. When I write something, I get close to it. I know what it's supposed to say. And after the fifteenth reading or so, I can't see the typos anymore. Sure, there are tricks to get around that, like changing the font, or reading from the bottom up (this helps only with actual typographical errors—you won't necessarily notice if you meant to say one thing and said another). There are even programs like AutoCrit that analyze your text for you. I use all of those things. But there is no substitute for a pair of actual, human eyes on your work, with another person telling you what works for them and what doesn't. The more the better.

So, to my critique partners: Thank you, thank you, thank you. I never could've gotten where I am without your hard work and support. I love you all.

* CP stands for "critique partner." If you're a writer, you need one of these. If not, just know that it's someone you swap work with so you can each get someone else's perspective and comments before sending it off to agents or editors.

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