Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Critque Groups

I was cleaning out my bookshelf today and found a spiral notebook of information I got a few years back when Jodi Thomas gave a "Critique Boot Camp". I think it was in response to a bunch of us new writers constantly asking her how to critique, what group should we join, etc.

I thought I'd share some of the advice given to you, in case you are looking for a group to join.

1. A critique group is not a social club. If you want to socialize before hand set aside some time and then stick to a strict starting time for critiques.

2. Check your local writing associations, library's, writing friends for knowledge of critique groups in your area.

3. Ask lots of questions before joining a group. Make sure you know what is expected of you, how many members there are, what genres are represented, and what objections do they share to name a few.

4. Know the rules of your critique group. How many chapters do you bring? Is there a time limit for each critique? Do you read your work out loud or does someone else read it? How many copies of your work do you take to the meeting?

Do you have any other suggestions for people looking to join a critique group? I'm not currently in a group, but I have been in a couple of different ones. I am amazed by how each group is very unique, which reinforces to me that it is important to find a group that fits you and your writing needs. What do you think?


Angela said...

Great advice to make sure you find the right fit. Probably my strongest advice is just to really research what other members write and what their critiques look like. You want to find a good match before you commit your time and finding a group with people who have varied skill sets will strongly benefit you and your writing more so than a group with similar skill sets.

Also, make sure the other members are committed. There's nothing worse than having people grow lax in crits or stop halfway through for no reason.

(I have quite a bit of info on crit groups on my blog, including when to leave one and how to do it if anyone needs more info)

BTW, I love your profile pic!

Wendy said...

You mention some great points. Just hopped over from another blog. I just joined an online critique group and it has been an exciting experience. The only other question I thought of that someone posed to me was have I ever been critiqued before...I think it helps group members to know that so they can walk you through the process if not (I have though). Hey, I also have 3 little girls. They crack me up daily!
~ Wendy

Sasha @ Cherished Moments said...

It must be very tough to trust your writing to others, for critique. I know that I find self-editing of my writing hard enough (almost like each word BELONGS to me, and I am not letting any of them go!), let alone allowing someone else to be part of that process.

Jessica said...

This is great advice! I've never belonged to a face to face group, but I have to several online ones and these are all really good points. Thanks for sharing!

Jody Hedlund said...

Those are great points. I hadn't thought of checking with my local library to see if there are any real life writing groups in my area. Thanks for that idea!

Jill Kemerer said...

I love Jodi Thomas (but you knew that already!). For anyone interested in a critique group: I would ask yourself if you have the time to commit to reading other writers' work. We all want feedback, but we have to give feedback too. If you don't have the time, don't join.