Friday, June 22, 2012

Finding a good critique group

One of the most common questions I get is: How do you find a good critique partner?

I'm lucky, I have some of the best critique partners in the world. (I'm very biased.) And so let me start by telling you how I found mine. First, I didn't start off searching for a group. I just wanted to find people to connect with in the writing world. I wanted to learn about the industry, chat with other writers, etc. I visited and commented on many different blogs. Soon I found people that I clicked with. I liked what they were writing, I enjoyed their posts and personalities, but most of all, we were at the same stage in our publishing journey. I think that's very important. Most critique groups grow together. My entire group started off as writers with the dream of publication. Now, most of us are well on our way to fulfilling that dream.

I remember very clearly one time reading the acknowledgments in a book. The author thanked several of her critique partners who all happened to be published writers. At the time I thought, well no wonder she's published, all her friends are in the business. (Yes, this was in my, I-am-never-getting-published phase) I laugh now, because I know that, of course, all her friends are in the business, she's a writer, she knows other writers. They had been crit partners for years. She didn't know published writers. They all became published writers together.

Anyway, my point is that friendships, developed naturally, with the right intent, are the people that end up forming your critique group. When you make these connections, the 'helping each other' stage follows. You want to read each others manuscripts, you want to share advice and stories. You want to see each other succeed.

Am I saying not to seek out advice or try to win critiques from published authors? Of course not. Do that too. But the people you're going to care about the most, the ones whose advice is going to become invaluable to you, are the ones who've been with you from the beginning. The ones who got to read your early drafts of your early books. The ones who you grow with.

Now for a shameless plug: My cover is being revealed today over at YA Book Central. Go take a look!


Kasie West writes YA paranormal and contemporary. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BA degree that has nothing to do with writing. She earned her masters in Junior Mint eating (which is awarded after eating your millionth King Size box....and is now working on her PhD). She loves sappy alternative rock ballads and reading way past her bedtime. She blogs at

 Her debut novel PIVOT POINT will be out with HarperTeen February 12, 2013


  1. Why hello, Kasie, we seem to be bumping into each other all over the internet today. ;-) Perhaps it is because of your smashingly-fantastical cover reveal! It sounds like you have some AMAZING crit partners. They must be lovely, talented, funny, charming... ;)

    Great post. I think many new writers want crit partners and go about finding them in the wrong ways. This a wonderful guide to the right way to build those relationships.

  2. Great post! And you're so right! I love my CPs as people as well as writers! It totally helps that we ”get” each other and have similar tastes, backgrounds, morals, etc.

  3. Oh, Kasie, that cover is gorgeous! *checking to make sure it is on my Goodreads TBR*

  4. Such great advice, Kasie. And extremely cool cover!