Finding Critique Partners

I've decided (somewhat randomly) this is going to be Critique Week on Author's Echo. Some of this stuff I've said before, but finding critique partners and getting/giving good critiques is so dang important, it's worth repeating.

But where do you find someone willing to read 80,000 words and tell you what they think? More over, where do you find people who are actually good at that sort of thing?

I know of three places, though the first two specialize in SF, Fantasy, and Horror. Hopefully folks can offer more in the comments.
  1. Critters Writers Workshop. Cost: Free. Wait Time: 4-5 weeks for each submission (you may submit many at once though, and they will be put up for critique one week at a time). Requirement: Critique at least 3 stories every 4 weeks. Submission Length: Up to 20,000 words.
  2. Online Writing Workshop. Cost: $49/year (first month free). Wait Time: Minimal. Requirement: Critique at least 4 stories for every submission (after the first). Submission Length: Up to 7,500 words.
  3. The Entire Freaking Internet. Cost: Free. Wait Time: Varies based on social media skills-slash-how nice you are: a week to years for the first submission. Subsequent submissions usually have minimal wait time. Requirement: Usually critique 1 story for every submission. Submission Length: No limit.
You laugh, but that last one is a gold mine. My first novel was critiqued by two friends (albeit an avid reader and a lit professor). My second by self-selected readers, still mostly friends and family.

Now, thanks to my *cough* "charisma" and a LOT of time wasted on the internet, I feel comfortable asking for critiques from multiple writers at or above my level, two agented authors, and two published (or scheduled-to-be-published) authors. Shoot, if I can make friends this awesome, so can you.

Social media, man. It really works.


vic caswell said...

i think critters is best for short stories though! if you submit a wip by random chapters, it's hard for critters to understand the context of the story and the pacing as a whole. or doing a request for dedicated readers would probably be best (i never tried that).

also- there is a thread in nathan bransford's forums for meeting critique partners. that's where i found my brilliant partner. :)

Adam Heine said...

I haven't requested dedicated readers on Critters, but I have been one. That part of the system works really well, I think.

K. Marie Criddle said...

Having lost my best in-person crit partners in a move across the country (like they're knick-knacks to be misplaced or something), I'm finding this whole "critiquing by internet" thing to be new and pretty daunting...but I'm trying to get out there! This is good information, Adam. I'm looking forward to the rest of the week!

Adam Heine said...

I'm the opposite, Marie. I never really had in-person crit partners (on account of I wasn't serious about writing until I wasn't in the country anymore). So far, the internet's been really good to me.

L. T. Host said...

Oh hey! Look at that! :)

There's a fourth place to look, though it's less popular than others. I met my crit group at school, we took a class together at our community college and a select few of us have stayed in touch and met regularly to read each other's work.

Oh, and the entire freaking internet. :D

B.J. Keeton said...

My wife works at a public library about an hour away from where we live, and one of the professor's from our grad school does a creative writing critique workshop series every other Saturday with a set group who sign up every 6-8 weeks. Once my Saturdays (and whole schedule, really) get a little freer, I fully intend on bringing some of my stuff down there and joining in.

I'm fully invested in getting my work critiqued since I plan on making sweeping revisions over the summer to multiple works.

Thanks for the links, though; I've never seen those first two at all!

Myrna Foster said...

#3 is one of the main reasons why I blog. I've never had a critique group either, mostly because I live in a really small town.