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The Importance of CP's

This month I thought I'd talk about the importance of Crit Partners. Now I know some people just don't use them. Others can't write without them. For me? I need mine. I have a core group. Some are more reliable than others, but that doesn't make them less effective. I know I am far from perfect when it comes to writing. Yes, I use the spell checker and grammar checker, but there are things a checker can't find--plot holes, missing characters, an overabundance of gerunds, or the everpopular contrived storyline. The very first WIP's I ever submitted fell flat on their faces. Not because the story wasn't there, but because it needed more than a fine tooth comb go over. I had a near and dear CP at the time and well, we were both young in our careers and it showed.

Here's my two stories about why I can't live without a Crit Partner.

When I wrote Must Be Doing Something Right, I had a character, Arran that seemed to draw comments. I didn't really think about his story and he was content at the time to keep quiet. Things changed when my CP said, 'you know, Arran is a fantastic character...are you going to give him his own story?' I thought, what a wild idea!?!? So, I sat down and asked him what his story was. Imagine my shock when he said, 'oh, Mindy was my wife, yes. But right now I'm with Sav.' My jaw dropped. Not because the idea of m/m was bad. Far from it. I'd never even thought to write a m/m story. I rather liked the challenge. It was even more comical when the CP who wanted Arran's story told me to get on the ball and write it. I'd never have climbed out of my happy little box to write something that was a challenge. I'm glad I did. I know, I always say that my most recent hero is my favorite. They all are, if you wanted to know. But Arran has a special place in my heart because he pushed the boundaries.

My second story is a little less fun, but I think other authors who might be in my position or have been in it, can relate. I turned in a submission to a publisher. I thought it was the beans. It had gone through a CP. She said it was free of kinks (it was mainstream, so not those kinks--although the characters would've loved to get more frisky), and had a great storyline. No plot holes, no major hiccups. So to the editor it went. One tiny problem. They wanted a resub. Yes, I went through the initial ego brusing and crankiness. (If an author says they don't get even a little bummed by a rejection, I find it hard to believe them.) But I also talked to two of my crit partners. Both had the same suggestions as the editor (which I knew all three were right --once I got over my ego bruise--). Get deeper into the character. Now, I am a panster from the first. I just write the story as it goes. That's not to say I don't know my characters inside and out. But it means I needed to go farther. They gave me suggestions and helped me work through some of the issues. That's not to say I didn't work through the rest on my own. I'm still learning. But I will say that talking to them and doing the exercises opened my eyes. There is still so much I need to learn to grow as an author. I'm glad I have them all.

On that note, I'll leave you with my latest release and bid you happy reading. I'm going to go back to working on subs (I can't work on just drives me berserk to have only one WIP going at a time.). Tangled Up won't be available for another week or so--January 24th--but I'm hoping you like it. It was a fun one for me to write because well, I love Arran's character. He's a pill from the word go and he's got lots of people who care about him.
What if the person you want for the rest of your life isn’t one... but two?

Mindy Mayes knew her husband was bisexual from the moment they met. She loved Arran with her whole heart until the day he asked for a separation to be with his partner, Sav. Through the ups and downs of life after the marriage, she, Arran and Sav remained close.

Things are about to change.

Though he walked away, Arran’s never given up on a life with Mindy. He’s in love with Sav and totally committed. But it’s his wedding anniversary. What if they took the threesome created out of friendship and made it into something more?

Maybe the perfect number is three after all.


Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Wendi,

Tangled Up sounds wonderful. Congratulations!

I definitely agree with you about crit partners. We just don't see the flaws in our own work. I have one CP who's constantly pushing me to dig deeper, to make things more complicated (or as he calls it, "to muddle"). He's usually right.

Wendi Zwaduk said...

Thanks Lisabet. My Cp's are invaluable. And yep, they are usually right, too.