Gay Paree!

I've finished a good second draft of my commercial fiction novel. I've had friends read it and gotten comments that were nice, but not helpful. I joined the guppies group of Sisters in Crime and had the fabulous experience of swapping critiques with another writer. She really put her finger on things I needed to change. I've revised based on her comments. I realize I need a few more good critiques like hers. The novel reads well now, but my gut tells me it still needs another draft or two before I send it out to agents. How do I source good critique partners? How do I get critiques on my draft from people who actually know the craft of commercial fiction? I haven't got any more guppies who want to swap. I don't have any friends who are commercial fiction writers, or retired agents or editors. I live in Paris.

Perk! Paris?

Miss Snark nobly volunteers to come right over and help you out.
Do you live near a train station?
Do you know a good milliner?

I'm pretty sure several other among the devotion of Snarklings will volunteer to come too.
Party in Paris!

-Miss Snark returns to earth-

In this electronic age, you can critique with people in Peru and not even break a sweat. Peru, Indiana too. I suggest you prowl around writers sites and find some folks looking for critique groups, or partners. There are some posts about "how to find" buried in the Snarchives.

Paris has a wonderful expat community. I know several writers who live there. Haunt the local English language bookstores. Make friends with the clerks. You're not the first to ask this question.

Bonne chance!


Edie said...

One of my critique partners is from South Africa. We met on an online loop and we critique via attachments. You could put out a request on one or more of your loops, saying you're looking for a critique partner. Mention you're in Paris; I bet that will intrigue another writer.

Darby said...

I'm not sure Paris is the place to be these days.

Maria said...

If you think it is far enough along, try to find a published author to critique the first 50 pages. Try to find an author that you read and like who writes something in the same genre (or area). You'll be able to approach the author intelligently and won't have to fake the flattery. And, of course, this task is a lot easier if you don't pick a bestselling author. Many fabulous authors do book signings or readings at libraries and bookstores. These are good opportunities to meet them. Get to know them a bit, see if they have online resources that they share, etc. If they are too busy to help, spend some time asking them about their favorite authors...read those and follow the same path until you find someone that has the time to help.

bethpenn said...

thanks guys!

bethpenn said...

madmoiselle snarkolicious, anytime you come to Paris, I'll show you a good time, babe. party on snarklings.

AzGhostWriter said...


I have an acquaintance in the south of France who might be useful and help with the critique. I'll mention this link and let her decide.

Are you French or an expat living in Paris? I joined a writing group in Amsterdam when I lived in Holland. The members were very diverse and I learned a lot from them.

If you are not a French national then go to www.escapeartist.com and see if they have anything of use for you.

Good luck,


Kate said...

I have the same problem finding a critique partner. If the original poster would like to email me (yogy[dot]bear[at]btinternet.com) we could discuss whether we might be suitable critique partners for each other? I'm based in the UK, but with email that need not matter. However, I may not meet your criteria for an experienced writer; I have thirteen years' experience writing scientific papers and have written two novels plus a third on the go, but I haven't succeeded in getting any fiction published. So I may not count as 'knowing the craft of commercial fiction'. Anyway, let me know if interested.

LJCohen said...

The internet is a wonderful resource for writers. Although I live in the Boston area and there are many 'live' crit groups around, my life/schedule makes it impossible for me to participate that way. I use two internet resources for crit: for my poetry www.wildpoetryforum.com, for my fiction www.fmwriters.com. Both are free communities with peer critique.

Good luck.


Southgrl said...

I *know* there's a writer there! His name is...hm...his book is in my bathroom--er, *study*-- but he wrote Paris to the Moon (was it Adam Gopnik?) He was a New Yorker (I think he wrote for the NY Times?) and he took his wife and went and lived in Paris for a few years. The paper let him do weekly columns about his quirky adventures. Maybe he's still there. Maybe you can look him up and crit with him. He used to take his kid to an old carousel in one of the parks, and he loves visiting some quirky taxidermy shop. Those little vignettes were the best part of the book. I didn't finish it because he delves too much into French politics. I'm not very political. But God I love Paris. I want to live in the Louvre, under the paintings...

brainlesionssuck said...

Check out fatplum.com They're located in Pittsburgh, PA but would work with you by mail. I worked my tush off on my novel (which is agented within a year of me writing it) but it was there objective, pointed feedback that guided me to make important revisions. Like you, I knew something was "wrong" with it, but I didn't know what...

kathie at housewifecafe.com