A Good CP (and why you want one)

Those of you writing a manuscript probably already know what a CP is, but for the non-writer friends among us, it is a Critique Partner. Well, a month ago, I had absolutely no idea what a critique partner was...any more than I knew how to make crepes suzette. (And I don't even know if I spelled that correctly, so obviously I have no idea how to make them.) But, after finally finishing my manuscript for A Summer of Hope after *mumble, mumble, cough, cough*, let's just say, a rather long hiatus, I was lucky enough to stumble upon a certain writing forum. And this writing forum led me to a certain amazing writer. And I began chatting with this writer, and was dazzled by her skill and thought she was just absolutely too fun and spunky and adorable for words.

Well, one thing led to another, and she became my critique partner for my WIP (work in progress.) And holy schmoly Batman! Let me just tell you...you want a critique partner. They are invaluable. She was able to point out things I just didn't notice, or that wouldn't have occurred to me even if I had read the manuscript 500 times. And it's not like when you give it to friends or family to read and they gush and say "Ooooh, I LOVE it." She tells me like it is, even though she tells me she loves it too. Which I admit makes me uber-happy, since I found someone as excited as I am about the story I am telling, and about my MC (main character).

She offers encouragement when I need it about my other manuscripts too. I'd kind of become disheartened about Summer of Hope after entering some contests and having my opening paragraph ripped to shreds and hearing a gazillion different opinions on what I should do with it. I've written and re-written parts so many times I feel like I don't even know what I'm writing any more. I've honestly questioned myself MANY times this past week if I even have what it takes to be a writer. I've asked myself what the heck are you doing, what are you thinking??? This voice was whispering to me, "You're not good enough" more times than I want to admit. I starting thinking that maybe I need to change the kind of books I write, and tried thinking of entirely different plot lines. I mean...REALLY different. But....the thing is, they aren't me. I don't know if I could write them. They didn't call to me.

And then today, out of the blue, I read a post. And it actually made me cry. It was written by my CP (who I hadn't even told a lot of this stuff to that I am writing now.)  And she talked about staying true to yourself, and following your gut, and not giving up...and not giving in. And it just spoke to me, and was somehow exactly what I needed to hear exactly when I needed to hear it. And the funny part...she was talking about herself. But it was a message for me too, she just didn't know it.

CP's don't just help you make your manuscript the best they can be...they help offer encouragement all around when you need it. They motivate you when you need a kick in the ass, and support you when you get that rejection letter in the mail. And sometimes, if you are really lucky (like I am) they speak to you without even realizing it, and make that voice telling you that you can't do it go away.

My CP rocks...and you will see her on the bookshelves one day soon. I know it.


  1. Hi Jodie,
    Now following your blog. You've asked me to review your book, and I'm almost there.
    This post is fabulous and many writers out there will connect with this. It's reached me and I can tell you I feel the same right now -my novel isn't yet complete. I'm often consumed with self doubt, but the advice about staying true to yourself etc is spot on. Just the other day, having had a few where I couldn't write at all, I thought perhaps I was writing the wrong sort of book, but then my gut told me otherwise. When you get an idea that speaks to you, it won't release you and it drives you on. It's relentless, even when you have bad days you simply can't eradicate it. Something wills you, begging you to relate the story. You're doing really well right now -just keep going. It's a learning curve and we'e always learning, irrespective of how many times you get published. All the very best wishes & have a great week.

    Suzy Henderson

  2. Awww. shucks. You are just the bestest. I feel the EXACT same way about you. For reals. I'm so glad we met, because you are an amazing writer, and an amazing CP. And I know YOU will end up on the shelves. And who knows...maybe we'll do a book tour together. How cool would that be. :) Much love to you.
    And...I turned off the captcha. And I sent you al little something.

  3. I'm pretty new to this too, Jodi. I've recently completed my first ms and have just acquired my very first CP. Needless to say, I'm excited and terribly nervous at the same time. haha

    Glad to hear you have a fabulous CP. I can tell it makes all the difference in the world! =)

  4. Natasha,
    Congrats on completing your first ms!! =) And it really IS so great to have a good CP. Hopefully yours is as great a fit as mine is for me. You will know that very soon into it. And you can always have more than one...so keep that in mind if you just don't feel "the magic". I actually LOVE (seriously) sending my ms, and wait like a kid at Christmas knowing my CP is reading it, wondering what she thinks, and wanting to get her feedback...because it is always invaluable. And when I give mine, and we can bounce ideas off of each other...it just helps SO much. I don't know how I wrote without one before. After I finish my WIP, I'd seriously love to have her go through my ms I'm querying and get feedback on that one. Because I didn't have a CP for that one. We use each other for our WIP's....like each week we send what we did...get feedback...then make revisions based on that. It is SOOO helpful.

    Best of luck with your writing!!!