With finishing my first draft of Blood Diamond and working on revisions, my mind tends to jump ahead to the next the step. Once I finish revisions, I like to send my manuscript out to my critique partners. Yes, I have more than one.
Critique partners are worth their weight in gold. Personally, I would never submit without running it by at least one other person. I want to make the best first impression I can with my work and I know I can't do that all by myself.
A good critique partner not only catches what you need to fix, but they also point out what you're doing right. That can be just as important as what should be changed. You need a thick skin in this business, but everyone likes encouragement.
What if you don't agree with them? Weigh their opinion. If it resonates with you and you think the story will be stronger, change it. If not, don't. Ultimately, it's your story. You have to do what's right for it. If several people mention the same thing, however, it's usually a good bet that changing it would be beneficial.
I know some authors have one partner that they rely on but I've found that different people seem to catch different things. Multiple partners (critique partners, that is) works out great for me because I'm a bit sparse on description, usually. As a reader, I don't like a lot of extraneous description and tend to skim over it if it doesn't seem relevant. Because I do this, I tend to go in the opposite direction and not put enough in. Of course, since I know the story and the characters so well in my head, I don't always catch the areas that need more description.
So, I like to have four strong critique partners to look over my stuff. Funny enough, I decided to write about critique partners after I wrote yesterday's post. Then I hooked up with someone new today. Critique karma.
So, I'm working diligently on my revisions like a good girl and I hope to have them finished by the end of the week, Monday at the latest. I'm pretty proud that I'm not struggling to finish writing two days before the deadline. I'm a horrible procrastinator and if it weren't for buddying up with Rachel on this submission, I probably would be sweating bullets, but that's a post for another day.
How many critique partners do you have? What do you look for in a critique partner?