We have all heard horror stories about critique groups, and there are some difficult groups out there. Yet, critique groups exist and thrive. Why? As writers, we need feedback on our work from other writers. Family and friends are not a true test of our writing.
Check libraries, other writers, writer groups and online for groups in your genre. It is a good idea to stick within your genre. If you write fiction, stay with fiction; if you write romance, then find all genres of romance. One is sure to be your match. Some genres cross over, especially in the YA groups. Mystery writers have their own groups, which include thrillers, spy and espionage. Non-fiction groups deal with more facts than fiction. As a fiction writer may feel out of place dealing with facts rather than raw imagination.
If you have long work hours, a weekly group might present a problem. Try a small group, 5-6 writers. Then everyone can be critiqued each time. A monthly group might be too far between reads. Remember, if you are in a large group, you may not get your story critiqued every time. Do not hesitate to ask about their processes. Online groups may fit your work and writing schedules, but there obstacles you must address. These include not seeing the people in the group. How do you know if anyone has published or is this their first attempt at writing. You need to ask the right questions at the beginning.
These are choices you, as a writer, have to decide. There is no right or wrong decision. You may have to try several groups and do not hesitate to try many. This is your writing and you want peers of the same genre to assist.
Once you find your critique group, your writing will improve. Also, in critiquing another person’s work, you are in a learning process. Try a group out. You just might find the ONE group for you. Or, there could be three of you that form a good fit, as long as you take these critiques in a professional manner.
Let me hear from you about your process for finding your group. I’d love to get your point of view on critique groups.
Over the next couple of weeks, we will discuss Rules of Critiquing and Rules for Being Critiqued.