I'd like to introduce you to Kim. She runs her own blog Dreaming in Libraries and became my critique partner a while ago. I couldn't be happier to have her by my side, but... I was also wondering about her view. So naturally, I asked her to write a guest blog about her experiences. And here it is.
At the end of May this year, I saw Shanna’s message for critique partners on Susan Dennard’s forum. I read her bio and instantly knew we’d get along--sharing a passion for severe weather would help, I guessed, so I contacted her and the rest is, well, history.
I’m happy to tell you that I was absolutely right and being a critique partner for her is the best thing that has happened to me in a while!
Whether I get to read the latest paragraphs she’s written or to brainstorm about a new world, how the characters should behave or what should happen next, I love dipping into her richly-imagined worlds and thereby kind of exploring her mind (does that sound too creepy :-D?).
So, what are critique partners exactly, you might be musing? Well, as far as I know critique partners are two writers sharing their stories to get feedback. It really is a give and a take.
Since I write in German (and not very well, I might add), I knew if Shanna ever wanted to know my opinion about her story, it would be a one-sided thing and she probably wouldn’t be able to read my story.
Well, turned out Shanna knew a little German, and agreed to fight her way through my first chapter. [Shanna: that’s because of my very limited knowledge of German, not because of her writing!] After her feedback I decided to rewrite the whole thing (and I still have to start) and even though Shanna never read more, she’s been the best help I could ever have gotten. Seeing how she writes opened my eyes to see what my writing heavily lacked.
As you can see, we hit off pretty quick and before long Shanna started sending me new paragraphs when she’d finished them. I’d devour them as soon as I got the chance. For me to keep up with the story this way (and technically being a first reader) worked pretty well, I think, because it gave us the opportunity to discuss next scenes if Shanna doubted something or felt like she was stuck. I really started looking forward to the next chapters (and I might be kind of addicted to her writing by now. :-D)
This whole experience has taught me that being a critique partner is AWESOME--I think for both writer and reader, but most definitely for a reader! To see how an idea turns into a whole novel is amazing and to experience the struggles first hand that I bet every author has to tackle, only makes you appreciate the books you’re reading even more. That’s why I recommend you to become a critique partner yourself, if you ever get the chance. It’s a “life-changing” experience regarding your reading habits and how you see books.
Now that Shanna is working on revising her first novel “Starstruck”, I’m REALLY hoping she’ll find an agent who wants to represent her once she starts querying. I absolutely love “Starstruck” and I think it needs to be read by more than just Shanna’s critique partners or beta readers--it needs to be shared with the world. It’s a heartfelt story about the struggles of life. It’s not only a story to enjoy and laugh about, but also a story to think about and about the dark places one might find oneself in. And: it’s also a story about finding your soulmate.
Even though we haven’t met in real life yet, it feels like I’ve known Shanna forever! She’s become a dear friend and I daresay if there is something like soulmates indeed, I might have found my soulmate in her.
Kim is a book-obsessed girl from Germany studying Physics of Earth. When not struggling with mathematic formulas, she’s busy fangirling over her latest favorite book. She loves to do everything concerning books: reading, blogging, writing, making bookish pendants,… Kim started her book blog “Dreaming in Libraries” in 2014 and thereby discovered a new hobby. You can find her blog at dreaminginlibraries.blogspot.com and she’s more than happy to talk to you on Twitter (@DreamingLibrary)!
Don't forget to check her blog: Dreaming in Libraries!