and Christina Cook - whose blog is under construction right now but you can go ahead a follow her :)
I just recently started this whole critique partners thing and I have already learned so much. But I have also been lucky to find great critique partners that help be grow as a writer. I have heard that not all critique partners are made equals.
Tool for SuccessI do believe that a good critique partner (or a few of them) can be a great tool for success in your writing. First because their feedback helps you identify and correct the weakness in your story and writing. There is a lot that I don't know about grammar and it is really helpful when my critique partners correct me on that. Also, as the composer of a work you have a lot of content knowledge - so when you are readying you may not realize that some sections don't make sense. Critique partners can help identify area's of confusion and plot holes as well.
Certain DoomThat being said - a bad critique partner could spell certain doom. Imagine being a new writer who has crafted a story that needs a lot of polishing but has merit. Now imagine giving that story to a mean spirited, spiteful, arrogant, self centered critique partner. (Hint: this example ends with you, the new writer, losing hope and giving up when you really could have written a wonderful story.)
That is not to say that as a writer you can be sensitive about your work. No, the opposite is true. You need a think skin to survive in the world of publishing. When I talk about bad critique partners I mean ones who are overly critical and are not looking at your work with an eye to helping you improve the story and your writing skill.
What Makes a Good Critique PartnerSo what makes a good critique partner? That depends on what you want to get out of the process. Avoid people that enjoy making you feel bad, those are not good people in general and would certainly not make a good critique partner. Also, keep in mind that the word 'partner' infers a partnership. Which means you are not just critiquing their work and getting nothing in return.
Ultimately it is up to you to decide what qualities you think would be good in a critique partner.
Do you have critique partners? Have you ever had to drop out of a partnership because the other person was too harsh?