Daddy, Where Do Crit Partners Come From?

I don't technically have a critique group. I don't meet with other writers on a regular basis, and the only person who sees my chapters as they come out is my wife. Part of that is there just aren't a lot of sci-fi/fantasy writers in Chiang Mai (though admittedly I haven't looked very hard, what with my abject terror of new things).

So I don't have a group, per se, but I do have critique partners -- those hardened souls committed to reading through the garbage I send them. I collect them the way other people collect Pokemon (though my crit partners complain a lot more when I try to stick them in those little balls).

Whenever people ask how to find good crit partners, I want to make a chart. Actually, that's misleading: I always want to make a chart.


DEFINITIONS
Blogging: Either they found my blog or I found theirs. We commented. We discovered common interests. Then one day, one of us tweeted or e-mailed The Question, and a crit partner relationship was formed.
Real Life: I hope this is self-explanatory.
Twitter: Similar to blogging, except I either never knew this person had a blog or I didn't follow it until later.
Through Agent: Not a road everyone can take, but I have recently collected crit partners because we share representation.
Critters.org: A great site if you want to exercise your critting muscles. And every once in a while, a stronger relationship is formed.

Conclusions? Well, blogging and reading blogs has been ridiculously profitable for me in terms of crit partners, but it's not the only road. And it's certainly not the fastest (I've been blogging for 4 years now).

If you're curious what my crit partners look like as writers, well . . . I made that chart too:


What's interesting to me is that, when we met each other, most of my crit partners were at the same spot as I was, and none of them were published. But 4 years later, I now have Real Live Published Authors who will happily read my stuff. That's kind of crazy to me, but I guess this is how it happens -- not by approaching the unapproachable, but by forming long-term relationships and sticking with them.

Where do you find your crit partners? Have any advice for people who have none?

13 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

FWIW I don't consider non-writers crit partners, just betas. I mean if I can't return the favor, it's not really a full on partnership.

But anyway, all my CPs I met through blogging. Sure, I have now met a few of them in real life as well, but it all started on the internet.

Authoress said...

Dear Adam, I would like to be your crit partner. Oh, wait...

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I've seen an evolution in my crit partners too - it's so awesome to see them advance along their writerly paths!

I think finding crit partners who are a good match is so important that I'm starting a blog feature called Critique Wednesdays (next week, not this coming Wednesday). It will essentially offer up my blog as a way for people to connect, as well as offering crits of my own.

My most recent crit-partner find: the winner of my blog contest! (I guess that counts as blogging, though)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

p.s. I'm going to link to critters.org - thanks!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I am fortunate enough have my CP's all live in the same town. I'm also really really happy to see when people share that those who have kept working at this have had success. Just found your blog - look forward to following.

Ben Spendlove said...

It's especially nice when the question is, "Can I read your manuscript? It sounds awesome." I try to keep an eye out for people whose stories I'd really like to read, because it makes the critiquing fun instead of work.

Jay Noel said...

I met all my partners via blogs. These brave souls are people that I've blogged with for almost seven years, so there's tons of trust there. Helps when they are published too, as they can give you advice outside your manuscript.

Daisy Carter said...

I met my critique group IRL at a writer's conference. I got business cards/numbers from everyone I met who wanted to be a part of critique group (that I liked, wah ha ha) and emailed them the next week to set up a meeting. Of the ten or so, only 5 of us went through with it. But it turned out to be a great group!

Jay Noel said...

Yeah, I know...7 years. Blogging was different back then - there were more "younger" folks doing it and there were tons of personal blogs (lots of rants and random stuff), which I kinda miss.

I blogged about the weird side of science. Having a themed blog was pretty rare back in the day. I also had a podcast, tons of listeners, but it got to be a lot of work!

Miss Jack Lewis Baillot said...

I know what you mean, about people complaining about being stuffed in Pokemon balls. I don't know why, I mean, there IS enough room in there.

I liked, er, needed this post. I don't have any crit partners. I finally found an editor after searching the internet world high and low. I do have a reader who gives me feed back, but that's about it. I'm going to look into that site you listed. Maybe I can find one there.

Amy L. Sonnichsen said...

Yeah, most of my crit partners come through blogging now. I used to be in an actual online group and we met up through SCBWI blue boards. Writing societies are a great way to meet people with similar writing tastes. I do not have any crit partners through my agent yet ... but maybe someday.

Nancy Thompson said...

I found my first few through Nathan Bransford's forums, one of whom became my most trusted CP & then my best friend. The others I met through blogging & all have become great writer friends. Those blogging relationships develop over time, bringing us each together over similar interests & journeys. I'd never have a non-writer read my work. While their interest is greatly appreciated, I need the expertise of a relatively experienced writer, someone who's not afraid to slap me upside the head when I'm being an idiot.

Eliza Tilton said...

Nice charts! I found mine through querytracker, Backspace conference and SCBWI regional chapter.