Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Guest Post by C.C. Dowling: Everyone's a Critic

C.C. Dowling delighted me when she agreed to do another guest post for me. She's a fantastic writer, and she uses the word "amazeballs" a lot. Oh, and I'm probably outing her by saying this, but I've finally managed to turn her into a Doctor Who fan too. Thanks C.C. Sorry, I lost your paypal account. Again.

Everyone’s A Critic
by C.C. Dowling

Ever realize how finding the right critique partner (A.K.A. CP) is kinda like dating?

No? Well, if you’re a writer, you should try it. Finding a CP, that is. I’ll leave the dating advice to another blog.

Finding a CP that is congruent with your style, personality, and craft level is crucial to being a successful writer. I don’t care who you are. Every single one of us has craft issues that we can’t see in our own writing. Why? Because we’re too close to it.

Sorta like how your partner can’t see that the last argument they had with you was completely their fault.

But I digress.

When you’re in a relationship like a writer is with their work, it’s difficult to take a step back and see it for what it really is. Whatever that “really is” may be. That’s where CPs come in. But where to find one?

When you’re dating, there are a TON of sites available to you, depending on what type of relationship you’re looking for. But where to find a CP is less clear.

Side note: Someone really should develop a website called CPMatch.Com. And hey, if this exists, or anything like it, please leave the website in the comments!

I can tell you what worked for me. That might work for you, and it might not. And, it might lead to an even better idea you come up with. If that happens, again, there’s a comment section for a reason. You can thank me there.

If you read the last guest post I wrote, you probably know what I’m going to say. If you haven’t read it, then you can find it here: Three Lessons To Keep Your Readers Up At Night.

Yeah, you guessed it. Twitter. I found almost all of my CPs through Twitter. The writing community on there is amazeballs. Aside from straight up hashtags like #critiquepartner, there are tons of contests. And when you enter them, and you stalk lurk keep up with the threads, you’ll see that people are offering to read your first 250 or your query, if you read theirs.

Heck, you can even offer it first. It’s your writing career. Grab it where it counts.
By doing it this way, you’ll get to:
A.) See what else is out there.  
B.) Test out someone’s material and critiquing style before making a major commitment.            
C.) Meet other writers.

This is the picture Jerry uses for
The Ubergroup. Don't worry. I
don't know what it is either.
The meeting other writers is important. In doing so, I met fellow author Jerry Quinn (@bewarethejabb) who runs a fantastic group on Scribophile (http://www.scribophile.com/) called Ubergroup, where I met the fabulous, and awesomesauce talent of Scott Hughey.

Side note: Scott, payments can be made via PayPal.

It’s also fair that I point out I met my very first CP, and just an all-around great writer, @ABSevan, through a Writer’s Digest first ten pages bootcamp. WD offers all kinds of online resources and classes where you can meet other writers in your genre, and at your level. Check them out (@WritersDigest  www.writersdigest.com.)

Okay, I think I’m done plugging everyone.

Bottom line is, as writers, we need someone who will tell it like it is, matches our talent, and provides useful feedback. Personally, I like my CPs to be straight up honest. Scratch through my crap with a red sharpie, and pat me on the back when I deserve it.

Everyone’s CP needs are different. Just like in a relationship, you want someone who pushes you to grow, meets you where you need them to, compliments your strengths and weaknesses, and wants to see you succeed.

How do you CP? Leave a comment to let us know.

C.C. Dowling lives in America’s finest city, San Diego, with her toddler (who plays in the yard with Faeries), her husband (the financial shaman), her Aussie (with mesmerizing blue eyes), and a pet dragon (who is the real reason the neighbor’s dog barks incessantly at night). 
When she’s not working in the field of neuroscience, she’s writing fantastical short stories and novels about blood-drinkers, shape-shifters, soul reapers, and demons hell-bent on redemption. You can find her on Twitter at @CCDowling.

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