I have been wracking my brain this morning trying to come up with something interesting and writing related to post about this morning, as I have noticed that I’ve done nothing but post Daily Progress Reports for the last week (which is good on one front because that means I’ve been writing my little tushy off). I have been writing like crazy due in large part to the fabulous butt kicking of my critique partner Pot (I’m Kettle, in case you didn’t know). A good critique partner is absolutely worth more than their weight in gold (not that one can actually obtain such a quantity of the precious metal in our floating economy, but that’s not the point). Finding someone who understands your voice, yet can still see clearly enough to say “Hey, X is not working. Why don’t you try Y?” is a beautiful thing. Pot gets my writing style, she follows my plot logic, and best of all, she really understands my characters, which is an invaluable asset when I get stuck with a scene. I can simply shoot her the scene up to where I get stuck and say “I don’t know what happens next.” She’ll inevitably either ask all the right questions to get me unstuck, or she’ll take a stab at writing part of the scene herself to see if she can grease the gears. Above and beyond the call of duty, I think you’ll all agree. That having been said, I feel it’s important to make a note about critique partner etiquette. If one has a fabulous critique partner who goes above and beyond the call of duty on a routine basis, it is important for you to both acknowledge said fabulousness and reciprocate! This would seem to be a no brainer, right? And when your own work isn’t going well or is just sort of plodding along that’s easy to remember. But sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in your own WIP, particularly if it’s been flowing really really well. Human beings are typically egocentric by nature. Don’t forget your critique partner’s WIP! She/he has stuff to do, needs help, needs those questions to get unstuck. And sometimes she/he is too well-bred and polite to say “Hey! Focus on me for a minute!” Sometimes we need those reminders, to make sure that there is an equitable division of helping going around. Don’t abuse your critique partner’s niceness and good will. She/he is more important than a muse in the big picture!