Tip of the Week July 20

Get thee to a good critique group.

Critique groups can be wonderful, informative gatherings, or they can be the spawns of the devil. What they are suppossed to be is a group of like-minded writers helping one another bring their manuscripts to fruition. They are really the first thing that should see a manuscript. It shouldn't be an editor or agent. It needs to be your writing buddies.

The problem, though, is finding a good critique group. It almost always takes a few tries before a good group -- where everyone feels comfortable -- emerges. And then you have to keep that group going. But when successful, critique groups are the greatest writing tools you can find.

Where can you find people to start a critique group? Well, I recommend the SCBWI as a good starting place. There are also some online groups and communities. You could always try there. Feel free to add suggestions of other good ways to find people for a critique group.


Anonymous said...

What do you suggest as the best way to bow out of a critque group which is not working? And how long do you give a group a try before coming to the final decision something is wrong?

The Buried Editor said...

Politely. The best thing is to be very polite about it. Depending on your comfort with confrontation you can be direct and explain that the group is not meeting your needs, or you can simply make up an excuse about why you aren't available anymore.

The other question is a little more difficult. Some groups take a little while to coalesce. Others, you can wait and wait, but they still don't ever seem to work. I would say to always give the group at least a few meetings -- a minimum of 2. After that, decide what's best for you.