Critique Partner Breakups: Breaking Up and Getting Broken Up With

Critique Partner Breakups: Breaking Up and Getting Broken Up With

Haven’t read Stephanie’s last post about Finding The Perfect CP? Don’t miss out! Click here to read.

So, you wanna break up with your CP. 

Maybe you don’t enjoy their writing like you thought you would. Maybe their feedback is unhelpful, or their availability has changed. Whatever the reason, you’ve realized the two of you are not a good match. Just like in our other relationships, sometimes a person can’t provide what we need. It’s good you’ve recognized that here.

Now what do you do?

Please, for all our sakes, do not ghost them. Remember in my last post, when I said the key to finding the right CP is communication? Well guess what: the same is true for breaking up with your CP.  That doesn’t mean you need to give a detailed breakdown of why you didn’t like reading for them, or just how unhelpful they really were. However, you should consider letting them know the general reasons you’re ending the exchange. 

If their comments were unhelpful to you, think about why. Is it a stylistic difference (“Alliteration is annoying”)? Are they giving too much feedback or not enough, or the wrong kind of feedback (grammatical rather than structural)? In both instances, you could simply say “I’m looking for a different style of feedback.” Be sure to really consider what isn’t working for you, what’s missing or what’s off. 

Thinking through these issues will not only help you make a smooth getaway, but it will also help you in your next search for the right CP. Because you’ve already thought through what wasn’t working and why, you’ll be better able to tell the next potential CP what you’re looking for. You’ll be able to start off that next relationship confident that you’ve communicated your needs clearly.

If you’re communicating well during this breakup, you’ll be able to maintain a non-CP relationship afterward. Just because you weren’t a match in the critique department, doesn’t mean you can’t still chat about your favorite authors and video games. Of course, you don’t have to maintain a relationship, and perhaps the former CP won’t take the breakup well regardless of your efforts at good and respectful communication, but that is out of your control. If that’s the case, the best thing you can do for yourself and your former CP is to wish them well and move on.

All this is assuming you were the one to end the relationship, but it’s just as likely you’re on the other end of the breakup.What to do if you’re CP breaks up with you:

So your CP broke up with you.

Maybe your styles were different. Maybe they needed a different kind of feedback or their availability changed. Whatever the reason, you’re now out a CP and possibly a little bit annoyed. But hey, you never liked their absurd alliteration anyway. 

If they’ve done their job, though, you now understand that there are as many ways to critique as there are books on your shelf. And just as not every book is for every reader, not every style of critique is for every writer. When they dumped you, your CP should have explained why you’re not a good match. That’s great! It means your next CP search can be more specific. You can be clear about the kind of feedback you give, about your particular style of critiquing. 

When you go back out into the CP world and start your search again, this information can be really helpful. Communicate with those potential CPs, find out what they’re looking for, tell them what you have to offer, use what you’ve learned from this breakup to be specific, and you’ll find a good match.  

Regardless of who calls it off, keep in mind that a CP relationship is supposed to benefit both parties. If that isn’t happening, it’s best to acknowledge it and move on. As I mentioned in my last article, a good CP can be an extremely important piece of your writing puzzle. (Okay, that’s actually a different metaphor than last time). Don’t let a rough patch with the wrong CP stop you from getting back out there and finding the right one.

Curious what it might look like once you’ve found that right CP? I’ll tell you all about my experience next time!

Written by Stephanie Rinaldi

Stephanie Rinaldi (she/her) writes sci-fi and fantasy and enjoys reading all sorts of fiction. She lives with her partner and very spoiled dog in rural Virginia where she keeps bees and volunteers her time working on local environmental justice issues.

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