I appreciate my critique partners in my writers group for all their encouragement and support for my writing projects. I would not be a published author without them.
We meet every week in the summer at a local coffee shop. We spread out on the biggest table we can find because there are four of us, eat sweets, and try the different coffees and beverages. Not only do we share our submissions, but also family news, work news, etc. And sprinkled throughout the meeting, are a lot of laughs and just pure joy.
One of our members was having trouble with stress headaches a couple of weeks ago. She reported to us that after the meeting her headache was gone!
The Golden Rule of Writers Groups: Treat fellow writers with respect and critique each submission as you would like your submissions treated. Be kind and gentle.
|Brainstorming is an essential part of the critique group's meeting.|
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by Stuart Miles
Our group meets to offer critiques of submissions we bring to share. I like the way we do the submissions. We just bring one copy of the chapter--double-spaced--and pass it around to the members. We have four or five in our group at each meeting. We save paper and ink by not making a copy for each member. Also, all comments and discovered typos are on one copy. So much easier to look through when editing when we get time to make the changes (or NOT make the changes. It's completely up to the author to choose how they want to use the feedback.)
***Other groups meet to share their writing but members don't offer critiques of the work unless the author asks for help.
I love my crit group for offering feedback in my story such as
- The mc begins eating her burrito but never ordered it from anyone.
- A joke or a scene doesn't work
- The character's name is Brian in previous chapters and Herb in the present submission. Of course, I have to laugh when they look up with questioning eyes--Who's Herb? (Last week I had missed a few chapters of one gal's story and was reading about Hank. I decided not to ask "who's Hank," so I kept reading. When I read "Hank trotted off with a saddle pack on his back," I laughed out loud. He was a horse, not a man!)
- The same information is repeated several times. Once is enough.
- The action is going too fast.
- The scene needs the mc's internal thoughts
I'm sure you've had similar experiences. And I bet you appreciate the constructive criticism as much as I do.
So what do I hate about a crit group? For instance, I submitted a chapter where the bad guy and his sister had to go to police headquarters. I had them together in the same room to give their statements. The give and take in the conversation was good, and the body language was fine. However, they informed me, this is not correct police procedure. The police would never allow them to be together to give a statement. Aaarghhhh. That's what I hate--I had to re-write the entire scene.
So I put on my big girl panties, thanked them for finding this flaw, and re-wrote the chapter in a different setting. To tell the truth, it turned out to be much improved over the first attempt.
Not only can a crit group help you in writing your story, push you to complete it, and submit it to a publisher, but the group can market their books together too. We have made presentations to local groups and shared opportunities to promote our books at different venues.
In this big world of publishing, it's good to know you have friends who will help you through the roller coaster ride of success and insecurity. Everyone needs someone to be a supporter to applaud your victories and be there for your rejections.
MORE INFORMATION--If you are considering joining or beginning a group or decide if a writers group is for you, then click here for my blog post published in February 2017--Critique Groups Points to Ponder. OR watch the video below.
Do you belong to a critique group or have a critique partner? What has been your experience? Please leave a comment below.
Remember to follow the J.Q. Rose blog by submitting your email address in the box at the top. You won't miss a blog post AND you won't get spammed by the Focused on Story blog.
J. Q. Rose Author Facebook Page
Google+ google.com/+JQRoseJ. Q. Rose Amazon Author Page
Fellow writers group memberJoselyn Vaughn just released her latest sweet romance, For the Love of Bigfoots and Butterflies. Congratulations, Joselyn!
For the Love of Bigfoots and Butterflies
by Joselyn Vaughn
|Sweet Romance--delightful and entertaining|
Back of the Book: For the Love of Bigfoots and Butterflies:
Fighting for an endangered butterfly is what makes Jane Meeth tick and Tall Oaks Development is her biggest adversary. Little does she know that the CEO of the company, Marshall Linden, is none other than the handsome hiker she meets while running on the trail.
After Marshall discovers evidence of Bigfoot, he wants to establish a sanctuary to protect the creature, but he must keep it secret from the protesters of his Tall Oaks projects. He didn’t count on falling in love with Jane making his plans nearly impossible.
When an environmental disaster threatens both of their dreams, they must throw away their prejudices to make the world safe for Bigfoots and butterflies.
Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KNLDD9
VIDEO: Writers Groups
Amazon Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KNLDD9
VIDEO: Writers Groups
I wish I had a group that would discuss things once a week. It sounds invigorating. I could use some of that especially in winter when the blues hit. :-)
Anna from elements of emaginette
Having a group to support me sounds amazing. Thank you for this article!
Yes, Anna, a meeting can be invigorating and inspiring. Brainstorming about all the possibilities for a story is so much fun. Sometimes I come home disappointed though when my submission wasn't quite up to the group's standards. But even criticism with suggestions for improvement can be helpful.
Gina, I hope you can find or begin a writers group. Glad you found the article helpful. Check out the other blog post, Critique Groups Points to Ponder for a lot of good suggestions on running a meeting. Best wishes!
I have a group online for that. I also have local NaNo Lake Writers that meet monthly, but it is not a critique group. Sounds like it could be fun to do if you find he right group.
I don't have a critique group anymore, JQ. I miss the camaraderie and the things I learned from them. We were together about 3 years and met every week, killing a ton of trees as we printed off two copies of our 20 pages each week.It was quite an accountability system, and I wrote a lot of words during those years. I think it's important to find people who write stuff you like to read and who like to read what you write. It takes quite a time commitment to work with critique partners. Now, I just send a mostly finished book to Beta Readers. It's okay, but probably not as good as if I had critique partners, but everything changes. Loved you post and I shared.
Right from the start, this sounded like fun with the coffee and sweets!! About 3 years into my first manuscript, I had a writing group with two guys. It was a lot of fun and we shared our writing and one became a co-editor of The Ginseng Conspiracy. We met in an online writing class. I don't know anyone where I live that writes. I think I would be more into the camaraderie most of all, followed by the idea and the sweets. :)
Yes, Juneta, finding the right group can be a problem. Solve it by founding your own group! LOL
Marsha, I miss my group when I'm in FL, especially the camaraderie like you said. I should have mentioned about the accountability because I work better knowing I have to have something ready by Friday a.m. But, we're pretty forgiving if someone doesn't have something to share. Thank goodness. Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for sharing!
Yes, it's so tempting to meet at a coffee shop! Online is valuable too because you can still read and comment about the submission. Bring your coffee and sweets to your desk!!! Thanks.
That sounds like such a fun group, JQ. You're right when you say you need to find people who write the same type of thing you do. I was in a writers' group once, but some of them were a little sniffy about romance novels, and didn't consider it 'proper' writing. I meet with my group in Hebden Bridge, and it's great to talk to them, but we don't meet often enough to critique each other's work. I'd love to find a small local group. Now I'm thinking...perhaps I could set one up!
Thanks for the inspiring post!
Hi Helena. Just saw this post--nearly 3 months late! You're right about the group fitting with your writing. I think starting your own group would be a great idea!
Post a Comment