Friday, August 7, 2009

Critique Groups, Honesty and Laughing

At this moment I'm downloading a 134 single-spaced novel from one of the writers in a critique group. I had dropped out of this group a few months ago but want to get back in it so she sent me her novel so I can read some of it before we meet next week.

The first group I joined when I moved here met once a week. We brought a few pages of whatever we wanted critiqued. The next week each of us would go over those pages with the writer. We looked for typos, but mostly looked for character and story development. If something didn't make sense or caused us to have to stop and re-read, we'd bring that up because we don't want our readers to become confused while reading. This group meets every two weeks now. We meet in a home now but used to meet in the library.

Another group I went to sent our pages as an attached document and we made comments on the pages on line. Word has a place to do that. I didn't enjoy that much because there was no interaction. When we met, we met at the library.

This last group meets once a month. We send no more than 3 chapters as an attachment, critique it then meet and go over what we've critiqued. I like not meeting quite as often--especially if we are going to have to read a lot. We meet in a home.

I haven't gone into the site in depth but Lifehack looks like a good reference for starting a critique group. Googling "writing critique groups" will bring up many sites.

Reading others work inspires me to write more. Being out of a group would mean I didn't have to write at all. I believe it is important to have other eyes read what we write anyway.

If anyone wants to start an online critique group, I'd be open to that. I love reading others work but only if they want honesty. One group I was in didn't give me that and didn't want honesty from me so I got out of it. If I wanted to hear "That's good," then I'd have my husband read everything I write.

I guess being honest can be carried to the extreme, and I may be one that carries it, but I want honesty from others. I want to know if I'm doing something wrong. I don't want people to let me run around with spinach in my teeth and not tell me.

I heard somewhere that the measure of true maturity is when we can laugh at ourselves. Seems like the older I get the more of ME I have to laugh at.


  1. Don't know much about online critiquing, but I have been communicating with another writer about trying to start a group. I'd be interested.

    Thanks for the comment about the Honor Your Parents video. I thought it was pretty touching.

  2. Check out Nathan Bransford's blog on how to critique.

  3. One of the things I treasure about our critique group is that we can all laugh at ourselves. I chuckle even thinking about the teasing on certain subjects like: "Ben appeared/disappeared." Each one of us has had several occasions on which we laughed heartily at the silly thing we had not noticed in our manuscripts. That's when I really take joy in the honesty and camaraderie of people who *really* like words, and who are not writing for egocentric reasons.