I got a great critique on my WIP from Fabulous Critique Partner Ami a couple of days ago, and I've been thinking a lot about the whole critique thing for a while. Because I'm still pretty much a critiquey moron in a lot of ways.
You think I jest? The first critique partner I had was my friend and college roommate. I lived in a townhouse with two guys; we were like Threes Company, only in reverse gender-wise, and Chrissy was a big guy who played Rush CDs incessantly, even when he slept, and Janet was a little guy who looked like Satan and slept with a samurai sword under his pillow.
I kid you not.
Anyway, Chrissy was a writer too, so we agreed to trade our stuff. I gave him my first manuscript, which sucked like nothing has ever sucked before. He gave me his novella, which was based on a roleplaying game, with all of the details changed to protect the not-so-innocent. And I started to critique. I covered the thing in purple ink, because red is just too high school teacher for me. I worked for weeks. And finally, I gave it to him with a long letter full of feedback attached. His critique consisted of one line:
That was nice.
And then he pretty much quit talking to me. I think the poor guy was a little overwhelmed by the way that I tore his stuff apart, and I was all huffy because I put all that time in and got nothing in return. Took me years to learn a lesson from that one, and said lesson is: I am a critiquey moron.
Moving on. I joined a critique group, and eventually it fell apart due to schedules and other random stuff. So now I've got a fab critique partner. Which is, well, fab. We're really able to dig deep into each other's stuff, since we're not critiquing for other people. And I've got all the time in the world to read blogs and write pages now that son is in school.
But I've really got to curb my critiquey moronic tendencies and figure out what to do critique-wise. I am absolutely sticking with fab critique partner Ami. But it seems like diversification would be good, that maybe we ought to add some peeps to the mix and start another group. I've got plenty of time now that son is in school; after two weeks of reading blogs for an hour or so during the day, I've come to the conclusion that I've got to get off my heinie and accomplish something instead of wasting all my time on bloggy goodness. So yesterday I exercised for a half hour and am now blogging about the fact that I ought to do something.
It's progress. Kinda.
What do you guys think? Do you prefer critique partners, critique groups, or sending your manuscripts to your mother, who is always kind? Where did you find the best critique partners? I've done the SCBWI boards before, but new ideas are always a good thing, particularly when you're a self-declared critiquey moron.