When many writers talk about their revision process, they usually mention the importance of critique partners or writing groups. I, like many others, attest that this step in the revision process is so extremely helpful and not to be overlooked.
I’m personally knee deep in another set of revisions on my current WIP, and am lucky enough to have fabulous critique partners who have helped me pull this manuscript out of the gutters.
Critique partners are so important, and for so many reasons. No matter how much time and distance you put between you and your manuscript, you still wrote it. You created those characters, breathed life into their story, loved them and tortured them until you typed the end at three in the morning before collapsing into a pile of utter exhaustion. And no amount of time or distance is going to change that. This isn’t to say you can’t revise and edit your own manuscript, because you should, but you should also get a fresh pair of eyes—or two, or three—to look it over. Because these people who didn’t write your WIP can give you something that no matter how hard you try, you can’t give yourself.
They can tell you what they see from a reader’s point of view.
Especially on their first read-through, they don’t know your story. They don’t know how your world works or the backstories for all of your characters. Vague lines don’t automatically make sense to them as they would to you because you understand what it’s referring to that happens 200 pages later. Critique partners see what you can’t—or what you don’t want to—and have the ability to make your manuscript infinitely better, in my humble opinion.
Finding the perfect critique partner, as I’m sure you’ve heard, is like finding your soul mate. It isn’t easy, and sometimes you have to go through a couple of no-good fits before you find your perfect match. And that’s okay as long as you keep looking.
Because, trust me, it’s worth it once you find one that believes in your manuscript just as much as you do.
Do you use critique partners? Share your thoughts; I’d love to hear what you think!