This writing gig can be lonely. Everyone will tell you, in order to polish your manuscript, you MUST find a great critique partner. And for once, everyone is right. A great critique partner (CP for short) will notice the crutch words you've gone blind to and gently let you know when those details that exist SO vividly in your mind didn't quite make it to the page.
Sounds magical, right? I know mine are! If you're on the hunt for a CP, here are a list of places where they're hanging out:
1. Reddit: I was always too self-conscience to post on Reddit looking for readers but I responded to quite a few posts. There are tons of writer subreddits, some are genre-specific which is where I had my best luck. So go and peruse the posts, see if something catches your eye. My recommendation is to trade a chapter or two to see if you enjoy reading their work (and appreciate their feedback) before committing to a full manuscript swap. My success rate was about 50/50 BUT the people I clicked with I REALLY clicked with! Our critique partnerships blossomed into full-blown friendships so I cannot say enough about what a great resource Reddit can be.
2. RevPit: Camp is coming up in October and I encourage you to sign up! I met some of the coolest writers who give the best advice through Camp RevPit. You can sign up for a first chapter swap and the wonderful RevPit volunteers will match you based on information you share about your book and your preferences. You might also meet friends inside your "cabin" (a small DM group on Twitter) if you prefer to banter a bit before trading. Both methods worked well for me. It was uncanny how much I had in common with the writer the volunteers matched me with (even though we are also very different!) based on my survey results AND I met a friend from my cabin who sometimes seems to share my brain! Thankfully not entirely, as she also always has the best ideas for plugging up my plot holes.
3. Twitter: Yes, I know this is broad but allow me to break it down: hashtags, DM groups, and pitch contests --in that order. Use the hashtags (like #writingcommunity and #strictlywriting) to find the DM groups. Use the DM groups to find the pitch contests. Be friendly, follow everyone who interests you, and if someone asks for help reading their work or retweeting their pitch strongly consider helping them. Over time you'll identify the people whose personalities you appreciate and whose premises interest you.
Another way to meet writing friends is during pitching contests. Participate in practice rounds beforehand if you can. Follow the hashtag during contests even if you aren't participating. Checking out the people who are pitching might result in finding someone who intrigues you. I recently met a new writer friend during PitMad and I'm so glad we connected! Her story is hilarious and she's been adding so many layers to my apocalypse survival story due to her first-hand knowledge in several fields crucial to survival. It truly feels like kismet!
4. Writer Zoom Events: My awesome writer friends host these AMAZING zoom calls where I've had the pleasure of connecting with SO many wonderful people! For example, I just had to tell another writer that I LOVED her bold lipstick. Yes, it was a teensy bit scary to reach out and tell her so but I'm so glad I did. Everyone likes a genuine compliment so when you admire something about someone you should tell them! For me it's resulted in a lovely friendship--well worth a few moments of fearing someone would think I was weird for being kind.
5. CritiqueMatch.com: I JUST signed up for this FREE site a few days ago (had to research all the options for you) so I haven't connected with anyone yet but I appreciate the clean design of this website. Some unique features are that you can upload your work directly to the site (if you don't want a stranger knowing your primary email for example) and you can search based on several categories including genre. Perhaps as I spend more time on the site I will find it to be worthy of its own blog!
That's all for me! Let me know in the comments, where did you find your critique partner(s)?