Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Critiquing and the Critique Partners

It's July and as I get closer to launching my first book out into the world, I'm reminded of how much I owe to my critique partners. They really are the reason I didn't give up on myself long ago. SOOOO, July is going to be about Critique partners and how they hold you up through the years. 
To start the month off right, I would like to introduce you all to one of the JMJ team, Mrs Jerrie Alexander!

First off, tell us a little about yourself.
A closet writer in my youth, I set aside my passion for writing when life presented me with a John Wayne husband, and two wonderful children.  A career in logistics offered me the opportunity to travel to many beautiful locations in America, and I revisit them in my romantic suspense novels. 
My characters went with me, talked to me, and insisted I share their dark, sexy stories with others.  I write alpha males and kick-ass women who weave their way through death and fear to emerge stronger because of, and on occasion in spite of, their love for each other.  I like to torture people (in books), make them suffer, and if they’re strong enough, they live happily ever after.
I live in Texas, loves sunshine, children’s laughter, sugar (human and granulated), and researching for my heroes and heroines. 
What are your thoughts on online critique groups’ verses meeting in person?
I do both.  I meet once a week with one group and online with the other.  I think each writer has to find what works for them.  Some benefit from the face-to-face meeting.  Plus I think it depends on where you are in your writing career.
What is your ideal critique group? How many is too many?
Again, it depends.  How many pages are you critiquing?  How often? 
My in person group does twenty pages a week.  That doesn’t sound like much until you throw life, family, friends, and your own writing into the mix.  There are three of us, and for our group, that has proven to be the max.
There are four in the online group I critique.  We are all at different points in our career.  We try for a forty-eight hour turnaround, but again, those are guidelines because of the same reasons mentioned above.
How often do you feel it’s necessary to meet (e-mail) you’re critique partner(s)?
I’m not sure it is necessary.  Depends on what the needs and preferences of the group.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in regards to critique groups and the critique concept?
You gotta get one!!!  Go online and track down some guidelines.  You’ll find lots of information about how to form a critique group on the RWA website. 
Know that the first or even second group may not meet your needs.  It’s not personal, it’s about different stages in your or their needs. 
Find people you can trust.  Trust to tell you the truth.  Trust that they’ll couch their criticism with kindness.  Trust that if you need them...they’ll be there.


  1. Thanks for this post. Critiques aren't 'God's words' but they shouldn't kill a writer's gift, either. Kind delivery but honest. Yeah, great reasons and experiences to offer, Jeannie and Jerrie

  2. I would not be published without my critique partners, I owe them a lot--thank you Sandy and Roben!!! Especially when you're first getting started in this industry, and have no idea what you're doing, a critique group can be a godsend.

  3. I just jumped into my first CP group and so far am loving it. Keeps you on your toes though.

  4. Awesome Jerrie & Jeannie !
    Thanks for sharing.