Dear writer,
Your writing career is about to take a major leap without you raising your pen or opening your laptop. It is my pleasure to introduce to you, Critique partners and Beta Readers! I’m sure you are already curious as to what or who they are. Hop on, let’s ride together.
As a writer, some things matter to you. You want clarity of work, robust plots and technical accuracy, amongst a host of other things that you lookout for when you are writing. So where do Beta Readers and critique partners come in? Let’s dive right in.

Basically, Critique Partners (CP) are writers like you who you choose to exchange a portion of your work with. Something like give me a chapter of your book for a chapter of mine for mutual benefit. During the exchange, the CP reads your work and points out errors and aspects that should be worked on like plot holes, poor character development, weak dialogues, sloppy settings and other things a writer should watch out for. In return, you do the same for them. That’s why you are partners.

Critique partners are writers and because they understand the process of writing, they are able to break down your literary work into various components and shine a magnifying lens to every minute detail of your work. One of the benefits of having critique partners is that they don’t judge your work by reading only one page (like most publishing editors do); they go through everything even if it’s a pile of garbage. They tell you what you need to fix and they praise your strengths.
Sometimes you need emotional support and a CP can be the person who supplies it. They understand the challenges that comes with being a writer and they can relate. Critique Partners can be the reason why you don’t give up on your writing because let’s face it, writing is difficult.
Finally, they can prevent you from trying to publish when you are not ready. If your critique partners are honest -which they should be, they would tell you when your book is ready to go into the market. They would prevent you from launching out a little too early before your book is ready. What do CPs get in return? An avenue to hone their story writing and editing skills, while maintaining professional relationships. Sounds like a fair deal, don’t you think?

Beta readers are people who recognize a good story when they see one. They do not write professionally but are voracious readers. You equally need them too. While CPs micro-edit your story, Beta Readers look more at the plot. They look at your story in a big picture kind of way. One fun thing about Beta readers is that they read your story as readers first. No looking for errors and stuff. They just want to be immersed in a good story. They are great at giving feedback on ease of reading, emotional attachment to characters and writing pace. Because of this, they can help you stay on track in your writing. Beta Readers are easy to find. They are your friends, cousins, nieces and nephews who cannot resist a good story. They are all around you, so go find them.
In your writing journey, you need as much help as you can get. Critique partners and Beta Readers can be the difference makers for you. You don’t need so many of them as 3-4 quality CPs and BRs each is recommended. I can bet a few names are already popping up in your mind. Go find them and make your writing better!

By Chuks CK for CLH

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