Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Writers Groups A.K.A. Critique Groups Points to Ponder, New Release

Hello and welcome to the J.Q. Rose blog!

I'm doin' a happy dance today with my friend and critique partner, author Tess Grant. Books We Love just re-released her YA novel, Hunter's Moon, first book in the Full Moon Book Trilogy. AND you can purchase it at amazon TODAY for 99 cents. Grab it now.

Hunter's Moon by Tess Grant
17-year-old Kitty Irish is going werewolf hunting. Disaster is only a bite away.
Available today for 99 cents at Amazon

Tess and I are in a writer's group along with two other published authors, WS Gager and Joselyn Vaughn. When we began meeting about six years ago, none of us were published. But with the encouragement and the "fresh eyes" of each member, we felt brave enough to submit the stories we dreamed up. 

Join the group!

Writers--Don't be put off by calling it a "critique group." Critique sounds too much like criticism and that has a scary connotation. A good critique will not criticize in a mean-spirited way. The critique will find the good points in a submission and help to strengthen areas that may need some help. Always remember the suggestions made by the group are only suggestions. You can take away what you feel will add to your story and throw out anything that doesn't feel right.

Are you thinking of joining or starting a group? Here are a few tips to consider about writer/critique groups. 
  • First and most important is for YOU to submit your best piece of writing. Don't scribble out something and never critique it yourself before having someone else look at it. Edit and revise it thoroughly before any other eyes fall on the page. You may advise the group if it is the first draft or the finished piece before they read it.
  • The number of members in the group will determine the length of the meeting. Keep the group to a reasonable size so that each member will have a chance to share the writing at the meeting and have time to receive feedback on his/her piece. 
  • Remember the reason for the meeting is to critique stories. Of course, it's fun to socialize, but don't forget the focus is on writing.
  • Let the group know what kind of critique you are looking for--simple proofreading, the arc of the story, if more or less scenes are needed, if the piece could be used in a certain magazine or genre, etc.
  • Each member should give feedback on the piece individually. (Sometimes by the time it is your turn to offer your input, every point may have already been discussed and that's okay.)
  • If you are receiving the suggestions, do not defend/argue what you did unless the person critiquing your story asks for clarification of your intent or wants you to explain something. 
  • Always begin with encouraging words for the writer. 
  • Gently offer suggestions on how to improve the writing. Never point out a paragraph or idea you don't like without offering some ways to make it clearer writing or more active storytelling, etc.
  • Writer's groups can help you become a better writer both by having your writing critiqued by members and also by critiquing member's submissions.
  • Other writerly topics are important too e.g. help with publishing, marketing and technology. 
  • Groups can plan writing retreats, book-signing events, presentations to their communities, and promotions e.g. blogging together or blog hops and online Facebook events.
 If you haven't joined a group or found a writing partner, I encourage you to do so. A good group can be inspiring, encouraging, and a great way to keep you accountable on your writing projects.

Do you have any more points to add about writing groups? Do you attend a critique group? Please share your answers in the comment area below.

Thank you!

* * * *


Tess Grant said...

Hey JQ! Thank you so much for the Kitty shoutout! Hunter's Moon would never be published today without my/our critique group.

I think the best advice I can offer about a group is this: If you leave feeling energized with solutions to your writing questions, it's the right group. If you leave feeling angry or hurt or torn down, it's not the right group. I'm so lucky to have found the right combination of people! :)

Helena Fairfax said...

That's wonderful that you have four published authors from your group, JQ. What a great group! I've seen members in some writing groups become resentful and jealous of others' success, instead of cheering them on. Looks like you have a great combination of people, as Tess has said. (Congratulations on your release, Tess!)

Nan P said...

Congrats to Tess on the new book! And very helpful tips. I'm sharing this with the recently reconfigured Big Rapids ArtWorks writers' group.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Tess. I was delighted to feature your book. Even if we weren't in the writers group, I still would've since I truly enjoyed Kitty Irish and her adventures. You sure know how to build suspense. Love it.

I agree the group has to inspire you and bring joy and support to members--or fuhgetaboutit. Best wishes with the new release!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Than you, Helena. Yes we are cheerleaders for each other.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Nan. Glad you can share the tips. I look forward to what they will have to add to the list too.

Mikki said...

I think it's great that you have such a nice group. When I first started writing, I was in an online group of 6 women from all over the US, and one lady in Africa. I started the group, and we were together for 8 years. At the time I left, I was the only one published,( although recently 2 of them have been published), and these ladies were absolutely responsible for my first book, The Freedom Thief, which has enjoyed great success with BooksWeLove. I am not in a group now, but think that critique groups, or writers group, whatever you want to call them, are a tremendous help to all writers, published or not.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Mikki. Glad you found a group who encouraged you so much. Thank you for stopping and leaving a comment.

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