amwriting, being a writer, beta reader, CP, critique partner, editing your manuscript, how to be a better writer, how to not suck at writing, manuscript, WIP, work in progress, writer, writing the opposite gender
I made leaps and bounds a year and a half ago when I decided I’d allow someone to come into my life, read my blood on paper, and give them the option to stab it a million times over with red pen.
It’s terrifying. It’s brutal. But it’s completely necessary.
To make matters worse, I took the plunge on Reddit, a site known well for its uncouth comments. These traits are no different in writing subs, so I had my doubts about finding a CP who was a.) at my writing level, b.) honest but constructive, and c.) finished with a manuscript that made sense.
I am proud to say he met all three criteria. Actually, we joked that Reddit aligned the stars somehow for us. Here’s what we taught each other:
Writers Have Different Strengths
My writing is very condensed, but this makes my action scenes blurry. On the flip side, he’s overly descriptive to the point where he digs himself holes later on in the story. We ended up balancing each other out and calling bullshit on things that didn’t fit or make sense.
I honestly believe every writer should have one CP of the opposite gender. While I am an advocate for equality, men and women do communicate differently and it’s nice to have someone say, “Eh, not quite. Here’s how he/she would react.”
Similarly, it’s nice to work with someone who knows, and has worked with, what I call your specialty characters. In my WIP, one of my canon characters is an autistic boy. It just so happened my CP was a social worker who had experience with special needs students. That character is stronger because of it.
Ideas, Ideas, Ideas
Ideas are a dime a dozen, but it’s nice to hear how someone else would back themselves out of a corner, especially if they put you there. There were plenty of times where critiques messed up the entire flow of the story. Having someone there to offer escape routes felt like I wasn’t alone and I wasn’t stuck.