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Read Our FAQ’s

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We’re a volunteer-run site, so please read the following carefully before getting in touch with any queries, thanks!

Click on the question to read the answer.

General:

What is Ladies Who Critique?

Ladies Who Critique is a critique partner matching site for female writers to find a great critique partner in their genre. We do not “match-make” as such; rather we facilitate writing partnerships by allowing members to create profiles, search other writers’ profiles and contact each other through our site’s messaging system. No-one uploads their work, nor is any critiquing done on the site. Think of it as a place to simply find a like-minded writer and critiquer.

How does LWC work?

Writers are encouraged to join Ladies Who Critique (membership is free) and set up a profile listing their current project(s), goals, interests, writing and critiquing experience. They can also join genre groups and contact – and be contacted – by other members requesting a critiquing partnership through the private messaging system.  If you’re looking for a CP, I recommend leaving a message on the forums.

Who can become a member of LWC?

The site is open to everyone! We have created a community that is more attractive to women writers because that is the space we consider ourselves familiar with. There are several men on the site and we welcome them with open arms!

Who started LWC?

Ladies Who Critique was started by me, Laura Pepper Wu! I was looking for critique partners for my manuscript in the summer of 2011, and came across some wonderful ladies via a post on Chick Lit is Not Dead’s facebook fan page.

After seeing a need for a place to meet critique partners easily and effortlessly, Ladies Who Critique was built by my husband and I in little under a month. It is a constant work in progress and we depend upon input from LWC members and the community to help it grow into a bigger and better place to support writers. It is, however, a hobby and not a business, and so we realise that there is plenty of room for improvement 🙂

Are critique partners as awesome as you say they are?

Finding the perfect Critique Partner (CP) for your writing will help you to progress your writing in several ways. It will improve your story line, character, dialogue and more. It will give you a reason (and deadline) to write each day. Having the right critiquing buddy can raise your spirits, build your confidence and give you some fresh air when the dreaded writer’s block kicks in. If you are looking for publication, she can help you spot errors, inconsistencies or problems before you receive negative reviews from “real” readers (think of it as quality control!).
She’ll help you to see where you are going wrong, and more importantly, where you are going right. This is a great way to develop your voice and style. Most importantly, a great critique partner can give you the support and encouragement that all writers need at some point.

Can’t I just pass my work to a friend or family member?

Yeah you could give a copy of your work to your BFF. She’s going to tell you it rocks and that you are awesome. You could pass it to your partner, but s/he’s only going to tell you what you want to hear so s/he doesn’t get demoted to the doghouse. And your Mother… well let’s not even go there!

What you need is someone who knows writing, knows your genre, and knows what your reader wants. You want someone who is not afraid to tell you (in the nicest possible way, obviously) what you can do to take your writing from good, to great and then to out of this world fantastic. The best kind of feedback you can get from a critique partner is objective, non-biased, and will actually be of use to you.


Membership:

Is LWC free?

Yep! Absolutely.

How do I become a Lady Who Critiques?

The signup process is easy. There are quite a few questions though because we want to know a little about our lovely members and the more details you give us, the better your chances are at finding a great match for you.

How do I join a group?

It’s easy – click on the group name you wish to join and press ‘join group’.

I can’t see my genre group.

The groups are not strict, so for now join the one closest to your genre. I’d rather have fewer active groups than tons of quiet ones.

If you have any specific requests for a sub genre, drop me a line at laura {at} ladieswhocritique {dot} com and if there is enough interest I’ll do my best to accommodate your desires in the near future.

How do I find other members?

Join a group and then browse the members. You can sort members by new, alphabetical or random. You can also search for people using the Search bar on the Members page.


Critiquing:

What is critiquing, exactly?

Grrrreat question! Critiquing is not a science, but there are some definite do’s and don’ts. We advise that you read some articles on critiquing before diving in.

What are the benefits of critique?

There are so many to mention! Here are a few;
– Accountability for your writing and keeping you on a schedule
– Support – writing has it’s ups and downs for sure
– A different point of view – ever heard that two heads are better than one?
– A way to help you get “unstuck”
– Someone to point out glaring errors, holes and inconsistencies before you submit for publication
– Confidence building

How can I be an awesome critiquer?

In a nutshell, try to understand clearly what kind of feedback your CP wants and deliver it. Critique the writing and not the writer. Express opinions as opinions and not facts. Don’t try to be authoritative. Give constructive feedback. Balance negative feedback with the positives.

See this great article by Victory Crayne for a detailed list & tips on how to critique.

For more detailed advice on critiquing the different genres, read The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide, by Becky Levine.

What should I look for in a potential critique partner?

There are several factors that might make you compatible: writing/ critiquing experience; frequency of critique/ schedule; personality match & interests; desired structure (strict/ casual) and the ability to deliver a good critique. You should also like her writing – it helps a lot! Also, see this article.

I’m having some problems with my Critique Partner. What should I do?

Any relationship worth being in takes some work. Try to smooth out the kinks as much as possible (see this article on problems you might have with your critique partner and what to do about it), but if it’s not going so well don’t stress about it – you can’t be compatible with everyone. There are plenty more writers in the Ladies Who Critique sea!

Why do you encourage a trial period?

Finding a critique partner really is like dating. So take your potential CP out for a virtual drink (i.e. switch up some chapters) and see if you gel. You may get lucky first time or you may want to continue your search. Having a month trial period makes it easy to “move on” if you need to, without anyone getting hurt.


Security & Legal Issues:

Is sending my work safe?

According to US copyright law, (The Copyright Act, Title 17 of the U.S. Code) the original author of a work owns the copyright to that work,  the moment the work is fixed in a tangible form. For writers that means that copyright protection is assigned as soon as the writer dictates the work, writes it with pen or paper or types it onto a computer or other device. In other words, copyright is automatic to you (unless you have assigned rights to a third party) and you do not need to taken further action to copyright your work.

The UK Copyright Law is similar to that of the US: copyright automatically arises when an individual or company creates a piece of work that is regarded as original.

For LWC members outside of the US and UK we suggest that you check the copyright laws in your home country.

What if someone steals my work?

Copyright law does not protect ideas, facts, inventions, processes, systems of operations, words, names, or symbols; so these can be stolen. Realistically though? If someone wants to steal the name of a character or an idea, then they are not a very good writer, and their chances of getting to any stage of publication is slim. The general consensus among critique site owners is that the chance of someone stealing and publishing your work is so miniscule, that there is nothing to worry about. See this great explanation by A Burt of Critter.org

Additionally, despite what we might think, very few ideas are absolutely unique; we all draw our influences from somewhere. As an author myself, I would not be paranoid about someone stealing my idea for a story.

If you are, below are some tips on improving the strength of the automatic copyright assigned to you by law. If you are still not convinced, a critique partner matching site may not be for you.

Ways to improve the strength of the automatic copyright assigned to you under copyright laws? :

Use the word “Copyright” or the international symbol ©  along with the year of first publication and the author’s name on every page of your work (this can easily be done by adding it to the header or footer of your document which will then display it on every page). This means that any infringer of the copyright law will not be able to claim innocence.

In addition, you can write a disclaimer at the front of your document such as ‘All rights reserved’, or you may elaborate and state ‘Any unauthorized  copying or adaptation constitutes as an infringement of copyright’.

Emotional Security

If you still have concerns about sending your work, please do practice caution but have faith. Only send work once you have formed some sort of a relationship with your partner, and never send entire works at once. Focus on sending a few chapters at a time until you can be sure that you can trust this person.

Who can see my profile page?

Both members and non members are able to see your contact page, though they are not able to contact you or view your contact information.

What is Ladies Who Critique’s privacy policy?

See here.


Other:

I am ready to submit my manuscript for a professional consultation. Do you have any recommended resources?

Yes, we have handpicked our favorite professionals. You can find them listed here.
 If you are still left with a question, please email your question to info {at} ladieswhocritique {dot} com. We will get back to you as soon as possible.

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