Critique Partners

Hi everyone! Today, I’d like to welcome guest blogger Chris Redding to by blog. She published her first romantic suspense, THE DRINKING GAME, with Wings Press in 2004. In 2007, Enspiren Press published her next book, CORPSE WHISPERER, a paranormal romantic suspense. Interested readers can order both books from both online and brick and mortar stores. Welcome, Chris!

Thanks for having me, Melanie. What can I say about critique partners? I had one set, when I first began writing, who were terrible. They kept rewriting my stuff in their style. They also gave me the advice that I should start writing category romance. NOT.

I don’t write category. There is NOTHING wrong with category romance. I just don’t write that way. I write darker stuff. Not a lot of description or angst.

The next group I was part of met once a month on a Friday. We’d have pizza. The hostess’ husband was a character that we actually learned a lot from. I kind of miss Al. And Ann, of course our hostess. I learned a LOT in this critique group. And I acquired a very thick skin about my writing. (Thanks, Irene!) I would not be published without them.

Some writers never show their work to beta readers. Not me. I don’t trust my writing enough. I appreciate at least one other set of eyes on my stuff. These days, I am in a smaller critique group. We all write different stuff. One writes category. The other writes more science fiction type romances. We’ve not only helped each other, but we’ve become fast friends. We have seen each other through some crappy times. And I trust them implicitly with my work. I don’t always do what they suggest, but if I’m not sure, I will err on the side of doing what they suggest.

Everyone should have confidants in their lives. I’m lucky to have two. Cathi and Kathy have kept me from quitting. They’ve kept me on track. They’ve cheered my successes and I’ve been glad to cheers theirs.

As a writer, do you use a critique partner? As a reader, do you find you seek out the same person when you need advice?

I will award a bag of chocolate to one lucky commenter!


Grace Harmony is on the cusp of her thirtieth birthday and about to lose her power to talk to murder victims. She’s happy to lose her gift until she doesn’t solve a murder and must rewind in time again. And again. Each time she lands back in time, she’s closer to her birthday and the stakes have been raised. And each time her relationship with the Zach Holten begins from scratch.

Being able to talk to the dead has never been so important. For the first time in her life, Grace may regret not being able to help dead people.



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12 responses to “Critique Partners

  1. I’m with Chris, I don’t trust my writing either and when a critique partner points out something which makes me slap my forehead and say,’How did I miss that?’ I know I need them more than they need me!

  2. Hi Chris, I’m always interested in bits about crit groups. I started with a group that helped me a lot, but as time went by, I realized I needed something different, something that pushed me more. I made some great friends in that first group who I still chat with. Now, I have two great beta readers–who pull no punches!

  3. Ah, the Thrill of writing and the Agony of Critique – I remember it well and I miss the pizza and Al, too.

    I don’t use a critique partner any longer, too many deadlines, but I do like people to read through my stuff and “find” things – like the holes, the typos (of which there are many) and the color-changing eyes and hair.

    What’s next for you?

  4. Patt

    What Chris fails to tell everyone is that her old critique partners learned a lot from her as well. She is hard a gritty and will tell you like it is.
    Not only that, if your writing a short ..she can fill in the holes. (she won’t remember the horror story called COLONIES I wrote,) but she and Mary reeled me on that one.
    Also she absolutely would have been published without her critique group, but it would not have been as much fun. (we did laugh) . A lot.
    I critiqued The Corpse Whisperer on Amazon a while back. It’s a darn good read right from the very first line: THE CORPSE GRABBED HER ARM WITH COOL FINGERS!
    Now that’s a hook

  5. Awww, thanks Chris. Here’s to friendship and lots more success cheering in the near future. Oh…but what do you mean you don’t always do what your critique partners suggest? Hmm? Just kidding. With any critique you take what you feel is best for your project and forget the rest.

  6. Chris Redding

    I really did not pay anyone to say the lovely things they said above. Honest!
    Kathye, I hope to have another one in print this year, but we’ll see.

  7. Hi Chris,
    Interesting blog. I do think critique partners have their palce but in the long run it is your story and you have to do what you think is best for it.


  8. I have been in a critique group and I learned a lot from them. Currently, I have a critique partner. Our styles are different but our commitment is the same and that, I think, is what keeps us going. I agree with you. There needs to be a second set of eyes. The story can be so alive in your head it’s almost like you forget to tell it!

  9. Melanie and Chris, great post about getting feedback for your work. I don’t work with a critique partner, but I have a couple of beta readers that I trust to give me their honest opinions.


  10. Finding “the right” critique person(s) is hard. All trial and error. It’s great that you found someone who works for you.

  11. joannaaslinn

    Hi Chris,
    I have a reader-friend/co-worker who is probably my best cp–she discusses my work w/me to death and helps me develop ideas or helps me make sure my characters are behaving as I believe they would. I’ve had some other partners–most online–and attended a wonderful in-person group when I first started writing. Their reaction to a piece I read there led to submission to a contest (I took second place); a comment by one judge pushed me to submit for publication and got me on my way! Feedback is invaluable!

    Joanna Aislinn
    Dream. Believe. Strive. Achieve!
    The Wild Rose Press

  12. Chris Redding

    Thanks for having me Melanie.
    The winner of the totebag filled with chocolate is:
    arkansascyndi. I will contact you via e-mail.
    Thanks ladies!

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