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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Donna Michaels

Critique partners

Happy hump day everyone! Today I thought I’d talk about: to CP or not to CP.

Yesterday, I’d mentioned how my CP had encouraged me to write my sci-fi romance after reading a short entry. As you can see, for me, a CP is important.

First off, let me start by telling you who my CP is. Many of you may have already read some of her great stories. My CP is romance author, J.T. Schultz. To me, JT’s stories are always funny and sexy. Her heroes are nothing short of hunky…especially her vamps and cowboys, and her heroines are always sassy and quick witted.

I met JT over at e.Harlequin when she answered my post for a CP. We hooked up on IM and talked about what we liked to write and realized we clicked right away. We both love humor and a strong heroine. Bingo! That was all we needed. lol Now, eight years later, we know each other's strengths and weaknesses, and if it were necessary, we could finish each other’s writing. That’s the ideal CP. It doesn’t mean we write the same, because we don’t, we just ‘get’ the other’s writing.

And that’s what you want in a critique partner, someone who ‘gets’ you—who understands where you’re coming from and where you’re going with the scene. If you write humorous, you need a CP who does humor. There’s no way you’d match good with someone who doesn’t write funny. They would more than likely tell you to take that part out and try to turn your writing into their style of writing. That is all wrong.

So matching is very important. If you only write inspirational, obviously you don’t want to hook up with a CP who only writes erotic. Or if you only write contemporary, you wouldn’t match good with someone who strictly writes historicals. You do need the commonality but you don’t need to be exact. JT’s stories are hotter than mine, but I can still CP her work, and she can still CP mine. And, luckily, we both cross genres.:)

I know there are several authors who don’t have a CP and they do just fine. My RWA Chapter—VFRW has a critiquing most every meeting, but with the economy I can’t drive the two hours (four round trip) every month. Still, this is a great opportunity and something new writers should check into when looking for an RWA Chapter. Plus, there are some authors who participate in a critique group. There aren’t any groups near me or I’d jump into that as well because there is nothing like a good honest critique of your writing.

What are your thoughts? Do you have a CP? Have you had bad experiences with a CP? Any advice on how to find a good one? Any advice on how to write without one?

Thanks for reading,


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Chiron said...

Hi Donna!

I do have three wonderful CP's--a group reality. What's great for me is that each of these women can point out different aspects to help me shape or clarify my story.

When I have good news, they're cheering along with me, and whenever I need a cyber-hug, I can always count on their good cheer.

Clicking with your CP has be the most vital aspect of the relationship. You're right, unless they 'get' you, no matter how great a writer, it still won't work.

Great post!

Chiron O'Keefe
The Write Soul:

Donna Michaels said...

Hi Chiron,

Good to hear you have a 'cp' group. I could certainly see how helpful and supportive they can be.

Best of luck!


Sandy said...

Hi Donna,

Critique groups are not all equal, some are good and others can be just horrible.

As a beginning writer, I started out with a critique group. We loved one another, but we were all learning. We were able to point out different aspects that needed work, but often could not really help one another.

After ten years of working together, one cp moved, another had medical problems and we decide to disband.

Eventually, I found two critique groups. One, I decided early on was not for me because one of the younger members wanted to rewrite my whole story and send it in a totally different direction.

The other critique group was into mentoring. They would tell me the problems, and I fixed them the way I wanted to. I loved it, and I learned so much.

The right cps can be wonderful, but the wrong one can be Hell.

Donna Michaels said...

Hi Sandy,

You're not the only one to experience the 'wrong' type of critique group. I've heard of others having a similar experience.

I'm glad you found the right type!! They make all the difference in the world.

Thanks for sharing!