In my last post I told you all why it's essential that I have a critique partner, and by extension why you should have one too. Also, there was crying and mention of porn. Anyhoo, I couldn't leave out all the other people who are reasons that I get to have a go at writing books instead of, you know, working and stuff.
I'm not an in-person type of person. Online works best for me. The place that I use for this is Scribophile, and not just because there are periodic discussions of how the hell you say its name. I sent my first book through the mill there and was lucky enough to pick up some loyal and wonderful readers who read the whole thing. What's more, they didn't laugh. They even came back and read my second novel. So it's down to them, in part, that I sent that novel out and gots me an agent.
Some of them have blogs: J. D. Field, Amaleen Ison, Kristine Goodfellow. Some of them (I'm looking at you, Kinkaid!) neglect their blogs (they die if you don't look after them you know. Just sayin'). These nice people, plus others - like Mr Mark Stone - discussed with me the relative evils of the word 'was' and the possibility that the world would implode if we used too many adverbs. They read the unfocused waffle that was my first draft, and they helped me make it better.
And here's the important bit - they had different ideas about what I needed to do to fix issues with my writing.
This is why it's important to surround yourself with people whose opinions you can trust. When you have a group of people willing and able to give intelligent comments on your work, it's also important to know when to excercise your own judgement entirely, and when to listen to other people. Having lots of people read your work is great, but you also have to know when something is a true issue with your story and when something is an opinion - maybe a valid opinion, and something that could work, but an opinion nonetheless.
Look for issues that are mentioned by more than one person. Listen to your own gut when it comes to your story, but don't ignore the more objective opinions of others if they're identifying the same problem.
So what do you think? Do you have crit partners? What's your optimum number?