Thursday, March 29, 2012

Critique groups

I'm a huge fan of critique groups. Writers benefit from having other experienced eyes and minds on their work-in-progress. (I do know several successful authors who disagree, however.) As an example, at my last meeting, two (male) critiquers called me on my male protagonist's behavior; they basically said he was too feminine. This was great feedback! I macho-ed up the character and it is better. :) Sadly, my long-time critique group is in a state of flux. I've been in the group around ten years, so it's not surprising things are changing. One writer has a bunch of books out and has been spending her time on marketing and publicity instead of critiquing (imagine that!). And others have various family and health issues. So, we tried to liven up the group by recruiting a new member. Hopefully, that works.

I've also been visiting/investigating various other groups in the area. It's amazing how diverse they are. One group doesn't let people submit their work until they've been attending regularly for months. One group only lets multi-published authors in. Some groups don't allow homework (you read and critique on the spot), some groups have lots of homework. The bottom line here is: if you're interested in finding a critique group, you may have to try out a few different ones to find a good fit.

But let's back up a bit. If you don't have a critique group, how do you find one? Many libraries have in-person critique groups. The internet has a ton of groups. I've heard good things about Critters Workshop, but they do focus on speculative fiction. I know the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers have a good on-line critique group. When considering a group, things to consider include: Are the meeting times and locations convenient? Are they experienced in your genre? Is the amount of homework reasonable? Are the comments you receive helpful? Are your personalities reasonably compatible? Is your writing better as a result of their input? Your-question-here.

Good luck!

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