There are so many great things about having critique partners that I couldn't start to enumerate them, but lately I have been dwelling on one in particular:
Having critique partners allows you to share your friends' success from an insider point-of-view.
So often in the writing world, we read crazy success stories and think, "Why her/him? Why don't I ever get lucky like that?" We're quick to write success off as chance, probably because it makes us feel better as we curl up in a hole with our chocolate, feeling a little like the only girls not invited to prom. (Okay, by "we" I mean "I." But it makes me feel better to imagine there are others...)
But with critique partners, we practically see the drops of sweat fall onto their keyboards. We know the harshness they have to put up with, because we've doled some of it out. It's obvious to us that any success was not happened upon but fought for.
Really, I think actual "luck" is a lot more rare than we think. Even if someone gets an amazing contract for the first thing they ever wrote the first time they queried it, we don't know how many nights they've stayed up reading, how much they analyzed craft, how they labored over that one manuscript to make it just right and how many drafts of that query they balled up and threw into the furnace.
Getting to the point here... I'm thrilled to share a couple successes of my own critique partners, and, far from curling up, I am basking in the glow of their glory:
Betsy Devaney has an agent! (Emily van Beek from Folio.) She has worked tremendously hard, been typing away at five in the morning for months, done the work, written, revised, repeated it all. Hearing her story sounds wonderfully like a godmother showing up to take Cinderella to the ball--but I can tell you that this Cinderella carved that pumpkin carriage out with her bare hands, wrangled a few horses and drove herself. I am so excited for her and can't wait to hear what happens next with her lovely stories.
Kiki Hamilton has a new book coming out in less than a month: THE TORN WING, sequel to THE FAERIE RING. I haven't read the final version yet, but the draft I critiqued kept me shivering under my covers waiting to see what happened next. I so admire Kiki's determined nature and positive spirit.
Other critiquing friends are still hard at work. But I know their days are coming soon...