Saturday, August 13, 2011

Part 2: Who's a good CP???

As promised, I’m continuing my discussion on critique partners. The focus of this post is showing proper etiquette. And no, it’s not just about saying thank you.

How can you have good CP etiquette?

·         Never show your CP’s work to someone else without their approval first

·         If your CP asks a specific question about their MS, please do answer. Even if the answer is, “I have no idea.”

·         Your comments can’t all be criticisms. Come on. I’m sure you can find something positive to say about the piece or you wouldn’t be working on it (see previous post here).

·         Don’t take a month to get back to your CP on ten pages of their MS. Unless you both decided to work at a snails pace.

·         Do respond to emails or phone calls from your CP in a reasonable amount of time. Even if you’re only responding to say, I’ll respond later. Don’t writers have to wait enough on others – don’t make your CP have to wait on you too.

·         Be humble. Do not assume that your suggestions are money in the bank. If they were you’d already have a book published. So what if your CP chooses to not take your advice/suggestion – get over yourself.

·         Don’t wear your heart on your sleeve. Remember your CP is trying to help you improve your piece. Don’t fight them. If you disagree on a particular suggestion and it means a lot to you, talk about it. If you can’t agree, agree to disagree. If it’s something you feel is a deal breaker – be honest. Being stuck with an unwanted CP is like being in a bad marriage (not that I’d know – I’m just saying).

·         If your CP reaches publication before you, you should be dancing with them – not frowned up in a corner with your thumb in your mouth. Their success is your success. After all, it was your excellent suggestions that helped to strengthen their MS.

I’m sure there are tons of other CP etiquette rules, but I’m tired and don’t feel like working the muscle in my head anymore. So, please, if you can think of others list them in the comments.

Have a great day. Read a book and laugh!!!!


  1. I liked this post Dawn and I liked your honesty at the end! I learned some new things and feel your points were entirely appropriate. Well done!

  2. Dawn, this is a great list. I completely agree. I also think we need to remember that when we critique, we are offering suggestions. Like you said, our CP's may not take all of our suggestions, and that's fine. Ultimately, it is their story.

  3. Great list! I also like to advise others to sit on it awhile if you receive negative feedback. Don't be too quick to defend your work. Be grateful for the suggestions and sleep on it. It always makes mroe sense to you the next day. ;)

  4. For every reason listed I wouldn't use a CP. It's one step too many if these are the tyrannies in that step. You can get this disposition from a regular reviewer.

  5. Thanks everyone for your awesome comments/suggestions.

    RYCJ, I respectfully disagree with your statement. If by "reviewer" you mean someone who simply reads books - not someone who has actual writing experience I would say you're selling yourself short. Yes, the experience is not always worth the effort (sometimes, not always). But the reward of finding someone whose style meshes with yours and you can bounce ideas off of is priceless.

    I tried the lone-ranger method. It did not work for me. My piecew was not right, laden with errors (not grammatical but plot holes, story structure errors...). However, I have heard of people going it alone. But I couldn't imagine ever doing that again now that I know how improved my manuscript can be if critiqued by a fellow writer -not necessarily a single person, a group is fine also.

  6. Interesting post.

    By the way, I just presented you with an award -

  7. This is a great list! A CP relationship relies on honesty, respect, support, and open communication.

  8. OMG, thanks Fi.

    Thanks, Medeia. All those elements are MUST also, I absolutely agree.

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