L., the critique partner

Blog Me MAYbeThursdayMAY I tell you about someone else?

Yes, yes I may. It’s my blog. Also, it’s my start of Blog Me MAYbe, and I have plans to participate on Mondays and Thursdays, and probably also Wednesdays because I like the Wednesday prompt a ton. But today is Thursday, so it’s time for me to turn my blog spotlight on someone else, and I’m pointing it at . . .

L.G. Kelso, my critique partner

So if you visit my blog at all frequently, then you know L. is my critique partner, one of my best friends, and also my NA Sister. She’s also participating in Noveling through Summer this year, and basically we do a whole lot together despite the fact that we live 900 miles apart.

I’ve known L. for … *tries to do math, please hold* … 13 years, and we were friends first, and writing partners second. In fact, I’m sure neither L. nor I knew the other one was a writer until we both walked into our senior year creative writing class in high school. Creative writing was a brand new elective when we were seniors, and we both signed up, and we got paired up as critique partners by the teachers. That’s where our history as critique partners began, and six years later we’re still writing together.

I’ve posted about our critique partnership before, so I won’t repeat myself unnecessarily, but I think there are several reasons L. is a fantastic critique partner, and why I won’t ever give her up ever:

  • She’s constructive & gets real, real fast — Just yesterday, L. left me a comment on a chapter draft that went kind of like this, “So some really serious & confusing stuff is going on here, and your narrator is really going to nag her partner for a whole page? Really? For reals? I don’t think so.”  That’s exceptionally paraphrased, and she included that dragging out the suspense was a good idea, just not in the way I did it. Her suggestions were helpful, and she wasn’t afraid to put the, “Uhm, probably not so much” right up front.
  • She tolerates my insatiable need for feedback — When L. was writing Oath Heir, I didn’t see actual words of the novel until she’d written the whole thing, and revised it herself about 3 times. Finally I had to say, “This is the time I have to edit for you, you lose me to grad school in August,” and she had to part with it & send it to me. For #thatghoststory, L. has seen already seen quite a few scenes in their zero draft form, and her critique is a good balance between constructive criticism, asking questions about characters & plot, and leaving the nice “Like!” note. Because I know I can have it, I ask for it. I’m a “revise as I go” writer, and always have been, so I tend to bring L. in frequently.
  • She’s much faster with feedback — L. and I both apologize profusely to one another for how long it takes us to get feedback back to the writer. Except L. takes about week, and I take about a month. I’m going to just pretend this is grad school’s fault, and not my own poor scheduling habits.
  • When we’re writers, we’re writers — people say, “Don’t expect your friends to give you constructive feedback; they’ll just give you unwavering support.” Well, like all rules, that one has it’s exceptions. L. and I have been friends twice as long as we’ve been writing partners, and I think our friendship only strengthens the writing thing. Because in six years, we’ve both learned how to be writers when we’re writing; her feedback to me is always constructive, and I know she reads with a critical eye, not just a supportive one.

So that’s my critique partner — easily one of the best people in my life and definitely the best person for my writing. Be sure to check out her blog and you can follow her on Twitter, and of course, we’re both contributors over at NA Alley.



  1. You’re so good to me, Bai! I think our friendship makes our writing together even better and our critiquing even stronger. And nice paraphrasing of my most recent crit lol! And your “instant” need of feedback is awesome, no worries!
    And yup, Carrie, Bai’s been one of my best friends for quite a long time!

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