Just ask me, a critique group can help you improve your writing immensely. Initially, it’s a difficult thing to do because our manuscript is our baby and any criticism can cut deep. But we cannot better our writing if we remain in a vacuum. As the kitten in the photo knows: “Everything is sweetened by risk.”
That’s not to say, you must change your text to comply with every comment or suggestion. You will know in your gut if the advice rings true or not. Also, if more than one person in your writers group, has the same input, it’s a good idea to consider those comments more closely.
So, how does one find a critique group? There are online groups if it’s difficult for you to leave home. But personally, I prefer face to face interaction. Libraries often host these groups, as well as various writers associations. A good start would be to Google critique groups for your area.
You may have to try a few before you discover the right fit. Some of the things you’ll need to check out are:
- How many members are there? A good ballpark amount is six, but it really depends on how serious the writers are. Do they bring pages to every meeting or just occasionally? If they all participate every time, the meeting could go over, or some writers could miss out on feedback.
- How often does the group meet? How long are the meetings?
- Is the group open to all genres or more narrowly focused?
- How is the group set up? Do they email their pages in advance so members can print out and make comments ahead of time? Or, do members brings printed copies of their work to read aloud and obtain feedback at that time?
- Does someone keep time so each person is ensured an equal time slot?
- Is there a limit on number of pages a writer can bring?
- Where does the group meet? Some meet in homes. Some get together in a public place.
Usually, there’s a facilitator and I’m a big believer in that. Besides tasks like sending meeting reminders and keeping a waiting list, the leader should ensure constructive feedback is given. We learn nothing from harsh comments. We are hard enough on ourselves as it is.
If you have further questions about writers groups, leave a comment on my Contact Form and I’ll get back to you promptly. Happy Writing!