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Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 3:58 pm
by Regan Leigh
Forgive me if this thread already exists. I saw threads for critique groups, but not necessarily writing partners.

I'm curious to know how you found your writing partner. Or have you? I have two writing partners at the moment. These are people always willing to help me out, as I am willing to do the same for them. I help others with crits at times, but if these two people need something I always give them priority. One writing partner is someone I went to high school with who also happens to be a great writer. We had both gotten more into our writing when we "outed" ourselves to each other. It was coincidence for the most part. My other writing partner is someone that read my stuff on another forum and messaged me about it. We soon realized we shared similar tastes and perspectives on writing. That led to a friendship and writing support.

In all, I feel very lucky to have stumbled upon these wonderful writing partners.

Is it always a thing of luck, or is it sometimes more of a calculated search?

(Oh, dang! I forgot to mention a third writing partner. I'll attach her pic below. ;))

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 8:04 pm
by r louis scott
I found my writing partner, Sophie*, at the First North American Historical Novel Society Conference in Salt Lake City Utah in April of 2005.

We were in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the shuttle bus to take us back to the airport. We talked a little bit about how much we had enjoyed the conference and discovered that we were two people in exactly the same situation. We were both married with school aged children, had careers, and didn't have time for any sort of real world writer's groups. We exchanged email addresses and said goodbye.

A few weeks later, the society's magazine came out and somehow a picture of me with Jack Whyte, the author guest of honor, made it in to the publication. Sophie saw it and emailed me, joshing me about how she wanted to be my best friend now so she could get some free publicity too. That began an email exchange that led to our becoming critique partners. We agreed to be the harshest of critics and the best of friends and that is how it has remained. I sent flowers when she signed with her agent and she is prodding me to get my query letter polished up and to start sending it. We have met early at subsequent HNS conferences to have lunch and spend the afternoon getting caught up before the conference itself gets underway. Five years later we are still sending chapters back and forth. Quite frankly, I don't think I would have finished my first book without her encouragement. Now all I need to do is convince myself it is good enough to query and get going.

So, was that chance or was it fate?

*A nom de plume

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 8:52 pm
by Quill
I actually started a thread a couple days ago in this same forum, called "Beta Basics" for this same subject.

One question I have for you two is how early do you send work to your writing partners for a read-through? First draft? First revision? Fourth draft?

I loved your stories of how you got into those great writing /reading relationships, by the way. Very cool.

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 9:05 pm
by r louis scott
Quill wrote:I actually started a thread a couple days ago in this same forum, called "Beta Basics" for this same subject.
My beta readers are far different from my critique partner.

My betas are first and foremost readers. Voracious readers. Readers that even read books they aren't really interested in because they need something to read. What I ask of them are their impressions, their likes and dislikes. I would never give a beta an incomplete work or a work I had not edited thoroughly. I also always ask if I may send them something. Maybe they would prefer to finish something else first. Luckily, I have never gotten a "no".

With my partner, I send it knowing full well that unless I need input right away, she'll get to it when she has time, and when she gets to it, she will rip it to shreds if that's what it needs.

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 9:08 pm
by Quill
Very interesting! Thanks for the clarification. I didn't know beta was different from critique partner.

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 9:09 pm
by aspiring_x
i found my critique partner through this thread in these forums...


and it was the best thing that's happened to my WIP. that gal's a genius!

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 9th, 2010, 9:24 pm
by Robin
Thanks for the link, I missed it earlier.

Re: Writing Partners

Posted: April 11th, 2010, 3:04 pm
by Regan Leigh
Thanks for the responses!

To respond to a few things...

*Sorry Quill, I missed your thread.

I never give betas the first draft. (Okay, I did it when I was really green to writing, but I've learned my lesson. You should never expect someone to critique or help you if you haven't gone through for an edit on your own.) Betas are supportive and helpful, but they've usually signed up for a one time deal. They may crit your work again later and also expect you to return the favor, but it is more of a favor and not a writing partnership.

My writing partners are different. Sometimes I go to them with first draft stuff, but usually it's so I can discuss it with them rather than get a real critique. Other times we're just there to moan and whine to each other. And don't forget the encouragement! You may have many encouraging people in your life, but that doesn't mean they really get what it's like to be a writer. I can count on both my writing partners to understand when I'm feeling the crazies or fighting with my muse. Heck, one joins in on the crazies with me and another can always tell from one message how I'm feeling. They really are a blessing. And it helps that one is on my level with writing experience for the most part and another is further along and going on submission to publishers now.

*And r louis scott? If you think your book is the best you can get it, then query. Without a doubt query. :) I saw someone else like you recently that wasn't confident enough to send out queries. A bunch of writer friends on Twitter bullied her into sending out a few. She now has an agent. Make your writing partner give you a challenge or a good swift kick in the butt. If it's not right for getting you an agent now, put it aside and write the next one. Then query. Rinse and repeat until you get it right. Just my 2 cents. ;)

*aspiring_x, so glad you found a crit partner! That is a great thread.