Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success. ~ Henry Ford
Sounds like a marriage, right? It is, in a way. There can be ups and downs--but there's also mutual support. I'm talking about your relationship with your critique partner. What, you don't have one? You're missing out. Go hunt one down and haul her back to your writing cave...
The first step is finding a CP you can live with--so to speak. Some handy tips. You'll want to enjoy her writing. You'll be reading a lot of it. And she'll want to enjoy yours for the same reason. Second, having similar output is a plus. I have to admit to shamelessly abusing Margo (yes, our very own Margo is my CP) in this area. I write faster, but I do go over her stuff more often since she likes to change up her WIP on a regular basis. So, I think it's all good. Third, you need to be able to take each other's criticism without getting all bent out of shape. That means finding someone you can communicate with. Also, find someone who's strengths compliment your own weaknesses. Part One ~The Beginning has been covered! You're on your way...
Part Two ~Staying Together. Lot's of reasons why CP's go their separate ways. I think time can be a big factor. When you embark on this relationship, be prepared to put some time into it. Yes, you're busy with your own stuff. Believe me, your own stuff will benefit from the time invested. Sometimes CP's branch out into genres you aren't excited to read. Discuss this ahead of time. Make sure you're both on the same page or can live with any changes. Communicate. (Sounds like that marriage again, doesn't it? LOL) Mutual respect for each other's work and advice will go a long way toward keeping the relationship healthy. I promise.
And finally, Part Three ~ Success! Your book stands a much better chance of success if you have a CP. She's going to look at your baby in ways you haven't--and see the shortcomings. You may not always agree. You may take some of the advice but not all of it. BUT, I guarantee it will get you thinking about ways to make your writing stronger. I like to focus on the plot--to the detriment of fully developing the personal relationships between my protagonists. Margo is all about what her characters are thinking and feeling, and sometimes the plot stalls in the process. She tells me my characters haven't kissed or talked about their feelings in three chapters because I'm so focused on having them get away from the bad guy. I tell her that her characters are thinking things to death while nothing much is happening around them. Our WIPs are improved by these insights into our weaknesses. And hopefully, once we've made some changes, both our chances of success go up, up, up!
So, if you have a CP, tell her thanks for her hard work and support on your behalf. If you don't, go find one. You'll be glad you did. Any other tips for a successful partnership you want to share? Please do.
Here's my shout out! Thanks, Margo, for making my writing better!