Tag Archives: partner writing

Elements of a Good Critique Partnership – A Repeat

Since I’m on the topic of Beta Readers, I thought I’d replay a post I did a while back about critique partners.

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I am very fortunate. I have an awesome critique partner. Melinda won’t hesitate to tell me when I’ve gotten it right, and at the same time she’ll tell me when I’m stinking up the page. I like to think I offer the same to her. What makes our partnership work? There are many factors involved in finding the right critique match, but here are just a few things that work for us.

First, and most important, is trust. Without that you’re finished before you start. You’re putting your work in your partner’s hands in the hopes of receiving honest feedback and help in improving not just your manuscript, but also your overall craft. Bottom line trust is vital.

Complimentary skill sets are a plus. Both Melinda and I bring something different to the table. Things that I tend to be completely escape my notice she’ll pick up on and vice versus.

Have a thick skin. Being in the publishing industry, you’re going to need one anyway. You’re going to need to be able to take constructive criticism whether it comes from your critique partner or your editor. On the other hand, a good critique partner won’t try and tear you down or make you feel bad about your work. A good critique partnership is about mutual respect and honest input.

Be honest with each other. When I send pages to Melinda, I’ll tell her to tear it to shreds. Why? First, because the only way I’ll improve the story and my skills is if I have someone combing through it with a critical eye. Second, I know that the dissection will be done thoughtfully and with respect. Third, because she may have suggestions that would never occurred to me.

You don’t have to write in the same genre, but it helps to be a familiar with the genre your partner writes. A critique partner who is not familiar with your genre may be able to offer suggestions on the basic technical skills of writing, but not the nuances of the genre.

Communication is key. If you don’t feel that you can offer a helpful critique you need to let your partner know. For example, I write M/M romance. I realize it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Before I started sending chapters to Melinda or before I send to a Beta reader I let them know up front the nature of the story. I never want to send someone something they are not comfortable reading. Also, if life has gotten crazy, you need to let your partner know what kind of turn around time you can give them.

Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and be supportive when disappointments happen. Your partner will most likely be the one you turn to when things happen along your publication journey. It’s nice to have someone one to support you who also understands what you’re going through.

These are just a few suggestions of what makes a good critique partner. Do you have any other to add to the list?

~Rayna

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Elements of a Good Critique Partnership

I am very fortunate. I have an awesome critique partner. Melinda won’t hesitate to tell me when I’ve gotten it right, and at the same time she’ll tell me when I’m stinking up the page. I like to think I offer the same to her. What makes our partnership work? There are many factors involved in finding the right critique match, but here are just a few things that work for us.

First, and most important, is trust. Without that you’re finished before you start. You’re putting your work in your partner’s hands in the hopes of receiving honest feedback and help in improving not just your manuscript, but also your overall craft. Bottom line trust is vital.

Complimentary skill sets are a plus. Both Melinda and I bring something different to the table. Things that I tend to be completely escape my notice she’ll pick up on and vice versus.

Have a thick skin. Being in the publishing industry, you’re going to need one anyway. You’re going to need to be able to take constructive criticism whether it comes from your critique partner or your editor. On the other hand, a good critique partner won’t try and tear you down or make you feel bad about your work. A good critique partnership is about mutual respect and honest input.

Be honest with each other. When I send pages to Melinda, I’ll tell her to tear it to shreds. Why? First, because the only way I’ll improve the story and my skills is if I have someone combing through it with a critical eye. Second, I know that the dissection will be done thoughtfully and with respect. Third, because she may have suggestions that would never occurred to me.

You don’t have to write in the same genre, but it helps to be a familiar with the genre your partner writes. A critique partner who is not familiar with your genre may be able to offer suggestions on the basic technical skills of writing, but not the nuances of the genre.

Communication is key. If you don’t feel that you can offer a helpful critique you need to let your partner know. For example, I write M/M romance. I realize it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Before I started sending chapters to Melinda or before I send to a Beta reader I let them know up front the nature of the story. I never want to send someone something they are not comfortable reading. Also, if life has gotten crazy, you need to let your partner know what kind of turn around time you can give them.

Celebrate each other’s accomplishments and be supportive when disappointments happen. Your partner will most likely be the one you turn to when things happen along your publication journey. It’s nice to have someone one to support you who also understands what you’re going through.

These are just a few suggestions of what makes a good critique partner. Do you have any other to add to the list?

~Rayna

Tag Team Writing

I’m starting off this post with a piece of blatant self-promotion. My first male/male romance coming is out through Lyrical Press in late February. I recently received the cover and I’m so excited. Here it is. What do you think?

Moving on to other topics.

Many writers have critique partners. We often try out many potential partners before finding the right fit. Sooner or later we find that person or people with complementary skill sets, who encourage you, but also let you know when you’ve gone in the wrong direction with a story. Still, at the end of the day the story you create is your own.

Have you ever tried writing with a partner? Tried blending your styles and voices so that the final product is a seamless conglomerate of the two. I always wondered how writing teams did it? Do the partners trade off scenes? Does one partner write from the hero’s point of the view the other the heroines? I know a lot of trust and compromise must go into it. I couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the process. Until now.

I’ve recently started writing a story together with a good friend. So far everything is going well, and it’s been a really positive and interesting experience. We’re writing tag team, we alternate scenes as we go. Before we started writing we sat down and hammered out a general plot outline, naturally as the story takes shape the plot gets enhanced and changed. Fortunately neither of us is so married to a plot idea or the words on the page that we pitch a fit when they are changed. Stylistically we are different writers, but it’s been cool to reread a scene I’ve written after she’s taken a pass at it. I’m a layered writer. My first drafts are very skeletal, so I enjoy seeing what meat she’s added. All in all I’m having a great time and I think we’re creating something really strong.

If you’re going to try writing as a team you’ll want to make the sharing of the document as easy as possible.  I’d consider using Google Documents. It’s Google’s free online word processing program. It’s not complicated, but it gives you the tools you need to get your draft work done before moving the final to a word document. I’ve been using it to write some of my other books because the documents stay online. I sometimes work on computers that don’t have Word loaded on them so this was the solution to my problem. All I have to do is log into my Google account online and I’m up and writing in no time. The other handy thing about his program is it allows you to grant permissions. In other words, I don’t have to give my writing partner, access to my account in order for her to access our story document. It’s still a private document, only she and I can log into it. The fun part is we can sign in simultaneously and both work on the document at the same time. It’s all done in real time so as your partner types the words magically appear on the screen. It’s awesome to see. Plus there is an in document chat function so that you can brainstorm as you go. It makes tandem writing so much easier, in my opinion, then having to email documents back and forth. No program compatibility issues or worrying that you’re working in the correct version, etc.

So going back to my original question – Have you ever tried writing with a partner? What method did you use to write the story? Finally, to appease my inner computer geek, what program did you use to write? Did you email word docs or is there another cool program out there that I need to know about?