Ask A Wench: Critique Groups

AAWGraphic  Anne here, with February's Ask-A-Wench feature, where a number of wenches  answer a question from a reader.  Maggie Robinson asked this question and so wins a book from me.

 I'd like to know how critique groups work and your opinion of their value. I live pretty far away from the nearest RWA chapter, so I've just been typing in the wilderness. I'm not ready to have my babies butchered by strangers, and my friends are not romance readers (plus, they're my friends. And I want to keep it that way). How many of you depend on critique partners? Who goes it alone? 

As a former English teacher, I know I'm pretty quick with the red pen. As an avid reader, my eyes glaze over at the first sign of clichés, even though I know there's no new plot under the sun. I wouldn't want me for a critique partner! Any advice?

Pat Rice speaks:Wicked-wyckerly200  

My immediate answer is–does she critique for free and can I send her my drafts? <G>

My more considered answer–I don't belong to a critique group. It's extremely difficult to find partners who possess the same level of knowledge and who relate well enough to your ideas to make the story better instead of nitpick.  That said, I did form an online group with other novelists where we read each other's material and attempt to give feedback on whether the material works. There are online sites like http://www.critiquecircle.com/ where this kind of exchange happens for those who don't belong to a circle of published writers. 

Good luck!

Scoundrelcover2  Cara Elliott is a "go-it-alone' writer. She said:

I've never been a member of a critique group-they just don't fit my personality or my creative process. I prefer to wrestle with my story and characters on my own, for in the end, the final book has to feel right to me, and not a committee. That said, a fellow author, whose work and voice is similar to mine, and I occasionally read each other's WIPs and brainstorm certain scenes. But it's mostly for small things.

The thing to keep in mind is that writing is such a subjective process and each of us does it in a different way. What works for one person won't for another. So you have to do what makes you feel comfortable. The key is to choose things that encourage and motivate you to write-so if you do try a critique group, don't be afraid to drop out if it isn't a positive experience. You have to trust your instincts. If your book isn't written from your own heart, it likely won't resonate in the hearts your readers. 

Mary Jo agrees:LovingALostLordrevise150

As with so much of life, the answer is "it depends."  Critique partners can be really useful at giving feedback and helping us develop as writers.  But the wrong critiquers can make you insane and be very destructive to one's creativity.  So it's good to know what you want from a critique partner: overall feedback as to how the story is working?  Technical writing skill?  Proofreading?  Marketing feedback?  (You may not always want the same kind of critique. 

These days, most aspiring writers are online, and RWA has online and specialty chapters that can help a writer find a hospitable critique partner or group.  One would need to take the time to get acquainted with the potential partner, chatting back and forth about tastes. preferences, and goals.  Even this is no guarantee that it's a good match, but it is worth a try. 

I've never been a part of a critique group, but I've always had early readers, and now I have one writer friend in particular who reads my stuff, and I read hers. We've both been in the business for a long time and basically like each other's work, so we can often come up with useful feedback.  Sometimes, a writer just needs to know that the story is working.  Good luck at finding the kind of feedback that will benefit you!

Kidnapped - UK  Nicola tried it once

"I go it alone, without a critique group or critique partner. I did belong to a critique group about 10 years ago but some people were reluctant to offer any kind of constructive criticism in case they hurt anybody's feelings and others were so tactless that various members left in a huff! I think there's a real art to offering positive and helpful feedback and a good crit group or a good critique partner could potentially be very useful. I do critique manuscripts for the RNA's New Writers' Scheme and always try to be constructive. What I do have is a writer friend with whom I exchange ideas. Although we don't read each other's work in draft we will run everything past each other from plot glitches to character motivation. We meet every month or so at this hotel on the River Thames so it's also a treat as well as a working meeting!"

Anne says be careful what you wish for.

As for me (Anne) I've done it both ways. When I first started writing romance I joined a critique group. The people who ran it were madly enthusiastic and very opinionated about the "right way" to write. When I handed around my first piece I was given back a list of 20 things I was doing wrong — there were none right. The only reason I wasn't crushed was that I had a letter from an editor about the same piece, saying  she "liked my first three chapters very much”, that I wrote ” with verve and emotion” and that “the main characters came to life beautifully.” She'd requested the full manuscript. Catchabride40k  

I did learn some technical aspects from the critiques, but after four meetings I was the only one in the group still writing (apart from the organizers.) I probably would have given up, too, except for that letter from the editor.

I later met with two of the people from that group and they started writing again. We met and critiqued for a couple of years, and it was brilliant — we loved each other's writing and respected our different voices and gave honest, encouraging and constructive feedback. Alas, those two turned to other pursuits, and now we're just friends, not critique partners.

These days I get support when I need it from other published authors — two in particular. I swap scenes with one of them on a regular basis, and the other sometimes gives a final read through and feedback before I send off the final manuscript. I do the same for her. I also will brainstorm a plot or a talk over a knotty problem with writer friends. 

So be very careful of critique groups and who you're handing your babies over to. I think if you show your work too soon, it can destroy your fledgling writer's voice. Writing techniques and conventions are easily come by, but your writer's voice is precious. If you can find a good critique partner, however, it's magic. Writing can be a lonely job, and it's good to to talk over the nitty gritty stuff with someone who really understands. But always remember, it's your book, your vision and your voice.

Anyone else here been in a critique group? Have critique partners? A good or bad experience with critique? Tell us about it.

110 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: Critique Groups”

  1. I have two wonderful friends who read through my WIPs and give feedback on what works, what doesn’t and if I miss some punctuation. Occasionally, I have another who I brainstorm with when I’m stuck on something because her ideas line up more with mine.
    None of them have ever tried to change my ‘voice’ and for that, I’m very thankful. It’s very easy to get involved with crit groups where the person/people looking over your work are critting it in such a way that it no longer reflects your voice, but sounds like them instead.
    Lynn Veihl posted a funny but frighteningly close to home 10 reasons list: http://goo.gl/fMTh as well as her first experience with a writing group http://goo.gl/LZPK
    Both of those might give you some good insight into what *not* to look for in a group.

    Reply
  2. I have two wonderful friends who read through my WIPs and give feedback on what works, what doesn’t and if I miss some punctuation. Occasionally, I have another who I brainstorm with when I’m stuck on something because her ideas line up more with mine.
    None of them have ever tried to change my ‘voice’ and for that, I’m very thankful. It’s very easy to get involved with crit groups where the person/people looking over your work are critting it in such a way that it no longer reflects your voice, but sounds like them instead.
    Lynn Veihl posted a funny but frighteningly close to home 10 reasons list: http://goo.gl/fMTh as well as her first experience with a writing group http://goo.gl/LZPK
    Both of those might give you some good insight into what *not* to look for in a group.

    Reply
  3. I have two wonderful friends who read through my WIPs and give feedback on what works, what doesn’t and if I miss some punctuation. Occasionally, I have another who I brainstorm with when I’m stuck on something because her ideas line up more with mine.
    None of them have ever tried to change my ‘voice’ and for that, I’m very thankful. It’s very easy to get involved with crit groups where the person/people looking over your work are critting it in such a way that it no longer reflects your voice, but sounds like them instead.
    Lynn Veihl posted a funny but frighteningly close to home 10 reasons list: http://goo.gl/fMTh as well as her first experience with a writing group http://goo.gl/LZPK
    Both of those might give you some good insight into what *not* to look for in a group.

    Reply
  4. I have two wonderful friends who read through my WIPs and give feedback on what works, what doesn’t and if I miss some punctuation. Occasionally, I have another who I brainstorm with when I’m stuck on something because her ideas line up more with mine.
    None of them have ever tried to change my ‘voice’ and for that, I’m very thankful. It’s very easy to get involved with crit groups where the person/people looking over your work are critting it in such a way that it no longer reflects your voice, but sounds like them instead.
    Lynn Veihl posted a funny but frighteningly close to home 10 reasons list: http://goo.gl/fMTh as well as her first experience with a writing group http://goo.gl/LZPK
    Both of those might give you some good insight into what *not* to look for in a group.

    Reply
  5. I have two wonderful friends who read through my WIPs and give feedback on what works, what doesn’t and if I miss some punctuation. Occasionally, I have another who I brainstorm with when I’m stuck on something because her ideas line up more with mine.
    None of them have ever tried to change my ‘voice’ and for that, I’m very thankful. It’s very easy to get involved with crit groups where the person/people looking over your work are critting it in such a way that it no longer reflects your voice, but sounds like them instead.
    Lynn Veihl posted a funny but frighteningly close to home 10 reasons list: http://goo.gl/fMTh as well as her first experience with a writing group http://goo.gl/LZPK
    Both of those might give you some good insight into what *not* to look for in a group.

    Reply
  6. I have no personal experience, but a friend of mine was briefly in a critique group. In her case. one of the members kept insisting that all sorts of things were historically inaccurate when, as a matter of fact, they were perfectly accurate. (It was a rather obscure period in which my friend happens to be an expert.)
    It must be difficult to find a useful group.

    Reply
  7. I have no personal experience, but a friend of mine was briefly in a critique group. In her case. one of the members kept insisting that all sorts of things were historically inaccurate when, as a matter of fact, they were perfectly accurate. (It was a rather obscure period in which my friend happens to be an expert.)
    It must be difficult to find a useful group.

    Reply
  8. I have no personal experience, but a friend of mine was briefly in a critique group. In her case. one of the members kept insisting that all sorts of things were historically inaccurate when, as a matter of fact, they were perfectly accurate. (It was a rather obscure period in which my friend happens to be an expert.)
    It must be difficult to find a useful group.

    Reply
  9. I have no personal experience, but a friend of mine was briefly in a critique group. In her case. one of the members kept insisting that all sorts of things were historically inaccurate when, as a matter of fact, they were perfectly accurate. (It was a rather obscure period in which my friend happens to be an expert.)
    It must be difficult to find a useful group.

    Reply
  10. I have no personal experience, but a friend of mine was briefly in a critique group. In her case. one of the members kept insisting that all sorts of things were historically inaccurate when, as a matter of fact, they were perfectly accurate. (It was a rather obscure period in which my friend happens to be an expert.)
    It must be difficult to find a useful group.

    Reply
  11. Nice piece, Anne, thank you! It does sound as if finding a “partner” who understands and gets what we do might work better than a group. A group tends to go for rules and writing is about individuality. There are things newbies might learn in a group, but in general, a person would have to be strong to go against an entire group. It would be interesting to hear from those who enjoy a group experience.

    Reply
  12. Nice piece, Anne, thank you! It does sound as if finding a “partner” who understands and gets what we do might work better than a group. A group tends to go for rules and writing is about individuality. There are things newbies might learn in a group, but in general, a person would have to be strong to go against an entire group. It would be interesting to hear from those who enjoy a group experience.

    Reply
  13. Nice piece, Anne, thank you! It does sound as if finding a “partner” who understands and gets what we do might work better than a group. A group tends to go for rules and writing is about individuality. There are things newbies might learn in a group, but in general, a person would have to be strong to go against an entire group. It would be interesting to hear from those who enjoy a group experience.

    Reply
  14. Nice piece, Anne, thank you! It does sound as if finding a “partner” who understands and gets what we do might work better than a group. A group tends to go for rules and writing is about individuality. There are things newbies might learn in a group, but in general, a person would have to be strong to go against an entire group. It would be interesting to hear from those who enjoy a group experience.

    Reply
  15. Nice piece, Anne, thank you! It does sound as if finding a “partner” who understands and gets what we do might work better than a group. A group tends to go for rules and writing is about individuality. There are things newbies might learn in a group, but in general, a person would have to be strong to go against an entire group. It would be interesting to hear from those who enjoy a group experience.

    Reply
  16. Maggie is on a Caribbean cruise this week, and I don’t know how often she’ll be checking in at her usual sites. I do know that she now has three critique partners whom she credits with helping her reach her status as about-to-be-published author of two novels and a novella.
    I can’t tell you how reassuring I find it to learn that several of you work without CPs. I have a great group of writing friends who challenge and cheer me and read sections of my WIPs and offer advice when I ask, but I work best on my own, particularly in the early stages. I sometimes feel out of step since all my friends have CPs whom they find indispensable to their processes. It’s comforting to have my different process affirmed by established writers.

    Reply
  17. Maggie is on a Caribbean cruise this week, and I don’t know how often she’ll be checking in at her usual sites. I do know that she now has three critique partners whom she credits with helping her reach her status as about-to-be-published author of two novels and a novella.
    I can’t tell you how reassuring I find it to learn that several of you work without CPs. I have a great group of writing friends who challenge and cheer me and read sections of my WIPs and offer advice when I ask, but I work best on my own, particularly in the early stages. I sometimes feel out of step since all my friends have CPs whom they find indispensable to their processes. It’s comforting to have my different process affirmed by established writers.

    Reply
  18. Maggie is on a Caribbean cruise this week, and I don’t know how often she’ll be checking in at her usual sites. I do know that she now has three critique partners whom she credits with helping her reach her status as about-to-be-published author of two novels and a novella.
    I can’t tell you how reassuring I find it to learn that several of you work without CPs. I have a great group of writing friends who challenge and cheer me and read sections of my WIPs and offer advice when I ask, but I work best on my own, particularly in the early stages. I sometimes feel out of step since all my friends have CPs whom they find indispensable to their processes. It’s comforting to have my different process affirmed by established writers.

    Reply
  19. Maggie is on a Caribbean cruise this week, and I don’t know how often she’ll be checking in at her usual sites. I do know that she now has three critique partners whom she credits with helping her reach her status as about-to-be-published author of two novels and a novella.
    I can’t tell you how reassuring I find it to learn that several of you work without CPs. I have a great group of writing friends who challenge and cheer me and read sections of my WIPs and offer advice when I ask, but I work best on my own, particularly in the early stages. I sometimes feel out of step since all my friends have CPs whom they find indispensable to their processes. It’s comforting to have my different process affirmed by established writers.

    Reply
  20. Maggie is on a Caribbean cruise this week, and I don’t know how often she’ll be checking in at her usual sites. I do know that she now has three critique partners whom she credits with helping her reach her status as about-to-be-published author of two novels and a novella.
    I can’t tell you how reassuring I find it to learn that several of you work without CPs. I have a great group of writing friends who challenge and cheer me and read sections of my WIPs and offer advice when I ask, but I work best on my own, particularly in the early stages. I sometimes feel out of step since all my friends have CPs whom they find indispensable to their processes. It’s comforting to have my different process affirmed by established writers.

    Reply
  21. Theo, you’re very lucky to find such compatible critique partners who don’t try to change your voice. I feel pretty strongly about ‘voice.’
    Thanks, too for those links to Lynne’s list — gave me a chuckle.
    Jane, this is the kind of things that’s unfortunately quite common, but in some ways, I think the historical aspect, at least, can also be useful to a budding writer.
    I’ve talked before about real history and perceived history, and a writer of historical romance needs to understand both. People like your friend’s crit partners are also her potential readership as an author, and if their sense of what is history isn’t met, they will think a book is flawed. I don’t mean people should write bad history to pander to inaccurate knowledge, but to be aware of perceived history and know that when you flout it, you have to make it convincing and good. 😉

    Reply
  22. Theo, you’re very lucky to find such compatible critique partners who don’t try to change your voice. I feel pretty strongly about ‘voice.’
    Thanks, too for those links to Lynne’s list — gave me a chuckle.
    Jane, this is the kind of things that’s unfortunately quite common, but in some ways, I think the historical aspect, at least, can also be useful to a budding writer.
    I’ve talked before about real history and perceived history, and a writer of historical romance needs to understand both. People like your friend’s crit partners are also her potential readership as an author, and if their sense of what is history isn’t met, they will think a book is flawed. I don’t mean people should write bad history to pander to inaccurate knowledge, but to be aware of perceived history and know that when you flout it, you have to make it convincing and good. 😉

    Reply
  23. Theo, you’re very lucky to find such compatible critique partners who don’t try to change your voice. I feel pretty strongly about ‘voice.’
    Thanks, too for those links to Lynne’s list — gave me a chuckle.
    Jane, this is the kind of things that’s unfortunately quite common, but in some ways, I think the historical aspect, at least, can also be useful to a budding writer.
    I’ve talked before about real history and perceived history, and a writer of historical romance needs to understand both. People like your friend’s crit partners are also her potential readership as an author, and if their sense of what is history isn’t met, they will think a book is flawed. I don’t mean people should write bad history to pander to inaccurate knowledge, but to be aware of perceived history and know that when you flout it, you have to make it convincing and good. 😉

    Reply
  24. Theo, you’re very lucky to find such compatible critique partners who don’t try to change your voice. I feel pretty strongly about ‘voice.’
    Thanks, too for those links to Lynne’s list — gave me a chuckle.
    Jane, this is the kind of things that’s unfortunately quite common, but in some ways, I think the historical aspect, at least, can also be useful to a budding writer.
    I’ve talked before about real history and perceived history, and a writer of historical romance needs to understand both. People like your friend’s crit partners are also her potential readership as an author, and if their sense of what is history isn’t met, they will think a book is flawed. I don’t mean people should write bad history to pander to inaccurate knowledge, but to be aware of perceived history and know that when you flout it, you have to make it convincing and good. 😉

    Reply
  25. Theo, you’re very lucky to find such compatible critique partners who don’t try to change your voice. I feel pretty strongly about ‘voice.’
    Thanks, too for those links to Lynne’s list — gave me a chuckle.
    Jane, this is the kind of things that’s unfortunately quite common, but in some ways, I think the historical aspect, at least, can also be useful to a budding writer.
    I’ve talked before about real history and perceived history, and a writer of historical romance needs to understand both. People like your friend’s crit partners are also her potential readership as an author, and if their sense of what is history isn’t met, they will think a book is flawed. I don’t mean people should write bad history to pander to inaccurate knowledge, but to be aware of perceived history and know that when you flout it, you have to make it convincing and good. 😉

    Reply
  26. Pat, I’ve attended a couple of really civilized group critiques, but also some that were real feeding frenzies, where some where on a crusade to “win” their point of view. Shudder.
    These days in writing courses I structure the group critique by giving questions that the members respond to — using them as readers — what was strong, what impressions did you get, etc, rather than “correcting.”

    Reply
  27. Pat, I’ve attended a couple of really civilized group critiques, but also some that were real feeding frenzies, where some where on a crusade to “win” their point of view. Shudder.
    These days in writing courses I structure the group critique by giving questions that the members respond to — using them as readers — what was strong, what impressions did you get, etc, rather than “correcting.”

    Reply
  28. Pat, I’ve attended a couple of really civilized group critiques, but also some that were real feeding frenzies, where some where on a crusade to “win” their point of view. Shudder.
    These days in writing courses I structure the group critique by giving questions that the members respond to — using them as readers — what was strong, what impressions did you get, etc, rather than “correcting.”

    Reply
  29. Pat, I’ve attended a couple of really civilized group critiques, but also some that were real feeding frenzies, where some where on a crusade to “win” their point of view. Shudder.
    These days in writing courses I structure the group critique by giving questions that the members respond to — using them as readers — what was strong, what impressions did you get, etc, rather than “correcting.”

    Reply
  30. Pat, I’ve attended a couple of really civilized group critiques, but also some that were real feeding frenzies, where some where on a crusade to “win” their point of view. Shudder.
    These days in writing courses I structure the group critique by giving questions that the members respond to — using them as readers — what was strong, what impressions did you get, etc, rather than “correcting.”

    Reply
  31. Thanks for that, Janga — a cruise — what fun. I knew Maggie was about to be published — ask a wench is partly about cleaning up old questions — but I felt that it was a good question for a group discussion anyway. I’ve noticed a very strong push in some writing communities to almost insist on a crit group or partner, and yet so many writers I know go it entirely alone.
    There isn’t a right way to write. We all have to find the path that suits us.
    Good luck in your writing.

    Reply
  32. Thanks for that, Janga — a cruise — what fun. I knew Maggie was about to be published — ask a wench is partly about cleaning up old questions — but I felt that it was a good question for a group discussion anyway. I’ve noticed a very strong push in some writing communities to almost insist on a crit group or partner, and yet so many writers I know go it entirely alone.
    There isn’t a right way to write. We all have to find the path that suits us.
    Good luck in your writing.

    Reply
  33. Thanks for that, Janga — a cruise — what fun. I knew Maggie was about to be published — ask a wench is partly about cleaning up old questions — but I felt that it was a good question for a group discussion anyway. I’ve noticed a very strong push in some writing communities to almost insist on a crit group or partner, and yet so many writers I know go it entirely alone.
    There isn’t a right way to write. We all have to find the path that suits us.
    Good luck in your writing.

    Reply
  34. Thanks for that, Janga — a cruise — what fun. I knew Maggie was about to be published — ask a wench is partly about cleaning up old questions — but I felt that it was a good question for a group discussion anyway. I’ve noticed a very strong push in some writing communities to almost insist on a crit group or partner, and yet so many writers I know go it entirely alone.
    There isn’t a right way to write. We all have to find the path that suits us.
    Good luck in your writing.

    Reply
  35. Thanks for that, Janga — a cruise — what fun. I knew Maggie was about to be published — ask a wench is partly about cleaning up old questions — but I felt that it was a good question for a group discussion anyway. I’ve noticed a very strong push in some writing communities to almost insist on a crit group or partner, and yet so many writers I know go it entirely alone.
    There isn’t a right way to write. We all have to find the path that suits us.
    Good luck in your writing.

    Reply
  36. I’ve never been part of a critique group nor have I had a critique partner. I’m not much of a “group” person, and the prospect of sitting in another meeting when work is full of meetings makes me feel ill.
    I’ve entered contests to get a critique. Some of the feedback has been good, a lot of it has been contradictory. I also find that I’m a little too eager to do what other people tell me. I realize that I have to write a story the way I write it, not the way someone else says to.
    Sometimes I think people use critique groups as a substitute for sitting there and writing. No one can write for you.
    But how I’d love a job where I could make money staying by myself all day! I’d never get lonely.

    Reply
  37. I’ve never been part of a critique group nor have I had a critique partner. I’m not much of a “group” person, and the prospect of sitting in another meeting when work is full of meetings makes me feel ill.
    I’ve entered contests to get a critique. Some of the feedback has been good, a lot of it has been contradictory. I also find that I’m a little too eager to do what other people tell me. I realize that I have to write a story the way I write it, not the way someone else says to.
    Sometimes I think people use critique groups as a substitute for sitting there and writing. No one can write for you.
    But how I’d love a job where I could make money staying by myself all day! I’d never get lonely.

    Reply
  38. I’ve never been part of a critique group nor have I had a critique partner. I’m not much of a “group” person, and the prospect of sitting in another meeting when work is full of meetings makes me feel ill.
    I’ve entered contests to get a critique. Some of the feedback has been good, a lot of it has been contradictory. I also find that I’m a little too eager to do what other people tell me. I realize that I have to write a story the way I write it, not the way someone else says to.
    Sometimes I think people use critique groups as a substitute for sitting there and writing. No one can write for you.
    But how I’d love a job where I could make money staying by myself all day! I’d never get lonely.

    Reply
  39. I’ve never been part of a critique group nor have I had a critique partner. I’m not much of a “group” person, and the prospect of sitting in another meeting when work is full of meetings makes me feel ill.
    I’ve entered contests to get a critique. Some of the feedback has been good, a lot of it has been contradictory. I also find that I’m a little too eager to do what other people tell me. I realize that I have to write a story the way I write it, not the way someone else says to.
    Sometimes I think people use critique groups as a substitute for sitting there and writing. No one can write for you.
    But how I’d love a job where I could make money staying by myself all day! I’d never get lonely.

    Reply
  40. I’ve never been part of a critique group nor have I had a critique partner. I’m not much of a “group” person, and the prospect of sitting in another meeting when work is full of meetings makes me feel ill.
    I’ve entered contests to get a critique. Some of the feedback has been good, a lot of it has been contradictory. I also find that I’m a little too eager to do what other people tell me. I realize that I have to write a story the way I write it, not the way someone else says to.
    Sometimes I think people use critique groups as a substitute for sitting there and writing. No one can write for you.
    But how I’d love a job where I could make money staying by myself all day! I’d never get lonely.

    Reply
  41. I adore my critique group. I honestly don’t believe I’d have improved as much or be writing as much as i do, without them. They’re motivation and support, oh, and the best friends i have. We meet monthly, and preread each other’s chapters so we can spend more time eating chocolate and nattering. Sometimes i need to work alone – first draft time normally – just to keep the magic flowing without feedback 🙂 But if you have the right group of writers, who value and respect each other – it can be an awesome thing.

    Reply
  42. I adore my critique group. I honestly don’t believe I’d have improved as much or be writing as much as i do, without them. They’re motivation and support, oh, and the best friends i have. We meet monthly, and preread each other’s chapters so we can spend more time eating chocolate and nattering. Sometimes i need to work alone – first draft time normally – just to keep the magic flowing without feedback 🙂 But if you have the right group of writers, who value and respect each other – it can be an awesome thing.

    Reply
  43. I adore my critique group. I honestly don’t believe I’d have improved as much or be writing as much as i do, without them. They’re motivation and support, oh, and the best friends i have. We meet monthly, and preread each other’s chapters so we can spend more time eating chocolate and nattering. Sometimes i need to work alone – first draft time normally – just to keep the magic flowing without feedback 🙂 But if you have the right group of writers, who value and respect each other – it can be an awesome thing.

    Reply
  44. I adore my critique group. I honestly don’t believe I’d have improved as much or be writing as much as i do, without them. They’re motivation and support, oh, and the best friends i have. We meet monthly, and preread each other’s chapters so we can spend more time eating chocolate and nattering. Sometimes i need to work alone – first draft time normally – just to keep the magic flowing without feedback 🙂 But if you have the right group of writers, who value and respect each other – it can be an awesome thing.

    Reply
  45. I adore my critique group. I honestly don’t believe I’d have improved as much or be writing as much as i do, without them. They’re motivation and support, oh, and the best friends i have. We meet monthly, and preread each other’s chapters so we can spend more time eating chocolate and nattering. Sometimes i need to work alone – first draft time normally – just to keep the magic flowing without feedback 🙂 But if you have the right group of writers, who value and respect each other – it can be an awesome thing.

    Reply
  46. Anne, this was a great question to pick. As we can see here, everyone has different needs and different ways of working. The key is trusting your own feelings about what works for you. Pat hit it on the head when she said writing is individual, and your voice is unique.

    Reply
  47. Anne, this was a great question to pick. As we can see here, everyone has different needs and different ways of working. The key is trusting your own feelings about what works for you. Pat hit it on the head when she said writing is individual, and your voice is unique.

    Reply
  48. Anne, this was a great question to pick. As we can see here, everyone has different needs and different ways of working. The key is trusting your own feelings about what works for you. Pat hit it on the head when she said writing is individual, and your voice is unique.

    Reply
  49. Anne, this was a great question to pick. As we can see here, everyone has different needs and different ways of working. The key is trusting your own feelings about what works for you. Pat hit it on the head when she said writing is individual, and your voice is unique.

    Reply
  50. Anne, this was a great question to pick. As we can see here, everyone has different needs and different ways of working. The key is trusting your own feelings about what works for you. Pat hit it on the head when she said writing is individual, and your voice is unique.

    Reply
  51. Sherrie, here. I’ve been in the same mixed genre critique group for over 10 years. We respect each other as writers and don’t impose personal prejudices or bias in our critiques. It’s a very supportive group. Prior to that, I was in a romance genre crit group that was also highly supportive and helpful.
    In my long-running current group, we pass out our work, take it home to critique (writing directly on the manuscript), then bring it back to the next week’s meeting and discuss it. All of us are advanced enough writers that we’ve developed pretty thick skins and know what to use and what to discard. Egos don’t get in the way. We trust each other.
    I am a freelance editor and do critiques as a living, so you’d think I wouldn’t need critiquing. Not so. It’s very easy to be blind to one’s own mistakes. Just last week one of the critique members picked up on a time discrepancy in my MS that I’d completely missed.
    I think Pat is right when she said some critique groups get so concerned about writing “rules.” Writing isn’t about rules, it’s about creating. It’s about entertaining. That said, rules have their place, and should be considered quidelines by beginner writers who need a good foundation to start from. From these guidelines, and with the help of a supportive critique group, fledgling writers can learn to soar.

    Reply
  52. Sherrie, here. I’ve been in the same mixed genre critique group for over 10 years. We respect each other as writers and don’t impose personal prejudices or bias in our critiques. It’s a very supportive group. Prior to that, I was in a romance genre crit group that was also highly supportive and helpful.
    In my long-running current group, we pass out our work, take it home to critique (writing directly on the manuscript), then bring it back to the next week’s meeting and discuss it. All of us are advanced enough writers that we’ve developed pretty thick skins and know what to use and what to discard. Egos don’t get in the way. We trust each other.
    I am a freelance editor and do critiques as a living, so you’d think I wouldn’t need critiquing. Not so. It’s very easy to be blind to one’s own mistakes. Just last week one of the critique members picked up on a time discrepancy in my MS that I’d completely missed.
    I think Pat is right when she said some critique groups get so concerned about writing “rules.” Writing isn’t about rules, it’s about creating. It’s about entertaining. That said, rules have their place, and should be considered quidelines by beginner writers who need a good foundation to start from. From these guidelines, and with the help of a supportive critique group, fledgling writers can learn to soar.

    Reply
  53. Sherrie, here. I’ve been in the same mixed genre critique group for over 10 years. We respect each other as writers and don’t impose personal prejudices or bias in our critiques. It’s a very supportive group. Prior to that, I was in a romance genre crit group that was also highly supportive and helpful.
    In my long-running current group, we pass out our work, take it home to critique (writing directly on the manuscript), then bring it back to the next week’s meeting and discuss it. All of us are advanced enough writers that we’ve developed pretty thick skins and know what to use and what to discard. Egos don’t get in the way. We trust each other.
    I am a freelance editor and do critiques as a living, so you’d think I wouldn’t need critiquing. Not so. It’s very easy to be blind to one’s own mistakes. Just last week one of the critique members picked up on a time discrepancy in my MS that I’d completely missed.
    I think Pat is right when she said some critique groups get so concerned about writing “rules.” Writing isn’t about rules, it’s about creating. It’s about entertaining. That said, rules have their place, and should be considered quidelines by beginner writers who need a good foundation to start from. From these guidelines, and with the help of a supportive critique group, fledgling writers can learn to soar.

    Reply
  54. Sherrie, here. I’ve been in the same mixed genre critique group for over 10 years. We respect each other as writers and don’t impose personal prejudices or bias in our critiques. It’s a very supportive group. Prior to that, I was in a romance genre crit group that was also highly supportive and helpful.
    In my long-running current group, we pass out our work, take it home to critique (writing directly on the manuscript), then bring it back to the next week’s meeting and discuss it. All of us are advanced enough writers that we’ve developed pretty thick skins and know what to use and what to discard. Egos don’t get in the way. We trust each other.
    I am a freelance editor and do critiques as a living, so you’d think I wouldn’t need critiquing. Not so. It’s very easy to be blind to one’s own mistakes. Just last week one of the critique members picked up on a time discrepancy in my MS that I’d completely missed.
    I think Pat is right when she said some critique groups get so concerned about writing “rules.” Writing isn’t about rules, it’s about creating. It’s about entertaining. That said, rules have their place, and should be considered quidelines by beginner writers who need a good foundation to start from. From these guidelines, and with the help of a supportive critique group, fledgling writers can learn to soar.

    Reply
  55. Sherrie, here. I’ve been in the same mixed genre critique group for over 10 years. We respect each other as writers and don’t impose personal prejudices or bias in our critiques. It’s a very supportive group. Prior to that, I was in a romance genre crit group that was also highly supportive and helpful.
    In my long-running current group, we pass out our work, take it home to critique (writing directly on the manuscript), then bring it back to the next week’s meeting and discuss it. All of us are advanced enough writers that we’ve developed pretty thick skins and know what to use and what to discard. Egos don’t get in the way. We trust each other.
    I am a freelance editor and do critiques as a living, so you’d think I wouldn’t need critiquing. Not so. It’s very easy to be blind to one’s own mistakes. Just last week one of the critique members picked up on a time discrepancy in my MS that I’d completely missed.
    I think Pat is right when she said some critique groups get so concerned about writing “rules.” Writing isn’t about rules, it’s about creating. It’s about entertaining. That said, rules have their place, and should be considered quidelines by beginner writers who need a good foundation to start from. From these guidelines, and with the help of a supportive critique group, fledgling writers can learn to soar.

    Reply
  56. Linda, I think this is a very wise decision on your part. It’s important to stick with your vision of the story and not get sidetracked by other opinions. Some writers don’t have a vision of the story until the first draft is done — I’ve written books like that, where writing was the discovery. In those situations I think feedback during the writing process would have been a mistake
    And I’m with you about being paid for being on my own. Creative solitude — isn’t that a job? LOL

    Reply
  57. Linda, I think this is a very wise decision on your part. It’s important to stick with your vision of the story and not get sidetracked by other opinions. Some writers don’t have a vision of the story until the first draft is done — I’ve written books like that, where writing was the discovery. In those situations I think feedback during the writing process would have been a mistake
    And I’m with you about being paid for being on my own. Creative solitude — isn’t that a job? LOL

    Reply
  58. Linda, I think this is a very wise decision on your part. It’s important to stick with your vision of the story and not get sidetracked by other opinions. Some writers don’t have a vision of the story until the first draft is done — I’ve written books like that, where writing was the discovery. In those situations I think feedback during the writing process would have been a mistake
    And I’m with you about being paid for being on my own. Creative solitude — isn’t that a job? LOL

    Reply
  59. Linda, I think this is a very wise decision on your part. It’s important to stick with your vision of the story and not get sidetracked by other opinions. Some writers don’t have a vision of the story until the first draft is done — I’ve written books like that, where writing was the discovery. In those situations I think feedback during the writing process would have been a mistake
    And I’m with you about being paid for being on my own. Creative solitude — isn’t that a job? LOL

    Reply
  60. Linda, I think this is a very wise decision on your part. It’s important to stick with your vision of the story and not get sidetracked by other opinions. Some writers don’t have a vision of the story until the first draft is done — I’ve written books like that, where writing was the discovery. In those situations I think feedback during the writing process would have been a mistake
    And I’m with you about being paid for being on my own. Creative solitude — isn’t that a job? LOL

    Reply
  61. Hi Robyn, yes, your critique group is a very successful one ( waving to you all) and works well for all the members. A good crit group doesn’t just give good critique, it supports and encourages its members to keep writing and to have faith in themselves. It’s a combination of family and cheer squad and coach. And you guys do it with chocolate, so… what’s not to like? LOL
    And yes to keeping the first draft to yourself and keeping the magic alive. I think sometimes people show their work too early. The best critique is when you’ve worked on a piece and made it the best you can, and then you get feedback.

    Reply
  62. Hi Robyn, yes, your critique group is a very successful one ( waving to you all) and works well for all the members. A good crit group doesn’t just give good critique, it supports and encourages its members to keep writing and to have faith in themselves. It’s a combination of family and cheer squad and coach. And you guys do it with chocolate, so… what’s not to like? LOL
    And yes to keeping the first draft to yourself and keeping the magic alive. I think sometimes people show their work too early. The best critique is when you’ve worked on a piece and made it the best you can, and then you get feedback.

    Reply
  63. Hi Robyn, yes, your critique group is a very successful one ( waving to you all) and works well for all the members. A good crit group doesn’t just give good critique, it supports and encourages its members to keep writing and to have faith in themselves. It’s a combination of family and cheer squad and coach. And you guys do it with chocolate, so… what’s not to like? LOL
    And yes to keeping the first draft to yourself and keeping the magic alive. I think sometimes people show their work too early. The best critique is when you’ve worked on a piece and made it the best you can, and then you get feedback.

    Reply
  64. Hi Robyn, yes, your critique group is a very successful one ( waving to you all) and works well for all the members. A good crit group doesn’t just give good critique, it supports and encourages its members to keep writing and to have faith in themselves. It’s a combination of family and cheer squad and coach. And you guys do it with chocolate, so… what’s not to like? LOL
    And yes to keeping the first draft to yourself and keeping the magic alive. I think sometimes people show their work too early. The best critique is when you’ve worked on a piece and made it the best you can, and then you get feedback.

    Reply
  65. Hi Robyn, yes, your critique group is a very successful one ( waving to you all) and works well for all the members. A good crit group doesn’t just give good critique, it supports and encourages its members to keep writing and to have faith in themselves. It’s a combination of family and cheer squad and coach. And you guys do it with chocolate, so… what’s not to like? LOL
    And yes to keeping the first draft to yourself and keeping the magic alive. I think sometimes people show their work too early. The best critique is when you’ve worked on a piece and made it the best you can, and then you get feedback.

    Reply
  66. Sherrie, what a wonderfully wise comment — yes, it’s all about developing trust and not taking constructive criticism personally. And I think that sentence about writing not being about rules but about creating and entertaining is brilliant and should be framed and given out to all beginning crit groups.
    I also liked your comment about sometimes being blind to your work.
    That can work both ways — people can be blind to how good their work is, as well.

    Reply
  67. Sherrie, what a wonderfully wise comment — yes, it’s all about developing trust and not taking constructive criticism personally. And I think that sentence about writing not being about rules but about creating and entertaining is brilliant and should be framed and given out to all beginning crit groups.
    I also liked your comment about sometimes being blind to your work.
    That can work both ways — people can be blind to how good their work is, as well.

    Reply
  68. Sherrie, what a wonderfully wise comment — yes, it’s all about developing trust and not taking constructive criticism personally. And I think that sentence about writing not being about rules but about creating and entertaining is brilliant and should be framed and given out to all beginning crit groups.
    I also liked your comment about sometimes being blind to your work.
    That can work both ways — people can be blind to how good their work is, as well.

    Reply
  69. Sherrie, what a wonderfully wise comment — yes, it’s all about developing trust and not taking constructive criticism personally. And I think that sentence about writing not being about rules but about creating and entertaining is brilliant and should be framed and given out to all beginning crit groups.
    I also liked your comment about sometimes being blind to your work.
    That can work both ways — people can be blind to how good their work is, as well.

    Reply
  70. Sherrie, what a wonderfully wise comment — yes, it’s all about developing trust and not taking constructive criticism personally. And I think that sentence about writing not being about rules but about creating and entertaining is brilliant and should be framed and given out to all beginning crit groups.
    I also liked your comment about sometimes being blind to your work.
    That can work both ways — people can be blind to how good their work is, as well.

    Reply
  71. Thank you for posting about this! It’s something I’ve been mulling over and asking a lot of people about! I’ve been in a critique group. They were kind, but not too kind and great at catching technical things and overarching story/plot things, but there were a few things that made it less than ideal.
    Part of it was me. I found if I presented the story too early in the process, just talking about it would kill my desire to write it.
    Part of it was a lot of focusing on what was “hot” and not finishing projects. They were all talented but they wouldn’t finish things and I felt at some level they enjoyed the “idea” of being writers rather than writing. That was frustrating to me as critiquer and just a reader that would have loved to see their work in print. There was one author that did take writing seriously and she was one of the few that had some success publishing. But I felt sometimes the critique and discussion focused too much on “this will sell well” rather than “does this work?”
    They all read some romance and weren’t book snobs thankfully, but none of them read in the subgenres I was interested in. So when I wanted to get down to nitty gritty stuff I felt like it was a bit of a loss as well.
    I really enjoyed the getting together, but I began to discount the actual critique part.
    Then I moved away and found I knuckled down and finished something without a critique group to worry about. Now I’m mulling over joining a local group and I’m still not sure.
    My one piece of advice for anyone considering it, finish a project first. Then go to the critique group to get feedback. You’re less likely to get derailed and discouraged from a critique then. Although it can be discouraging to realize something in the first chapter needs to be changed and it will change the whole book. . .

    Reply
  72. Thank you for posting about this! It’s something I’ve been mulling over and asking a lot of people about! I’ve been in a critique group. They were kind, but not too kind and great at catching technical things and overarching story/plot things, but there were a few things that made it less than ideal.
    Part of it was me. I found if I presented the story too early in the process, just talking about it would kill my desire to write it.
    Part of it was a lot of focusing on what was “hot” and not finishing projects. They were all talented but they wouldn’t finish things and I felt at some level they enjoyed the “idea” of being writers rather than writing. That was frustrating to me as critiquer and just a reader that would have loved to see their work in print. There was one author that did take writing seriously and she was one of the few that had some success publishing. But I felt sometimes the critique and discussion focused too much on “this will sell well” rather than “does this work?”
    They all read some romance and weren’t book snobs thankfully, but none of them read in the subgenres I was interested in. So when I wanted to get down to nitty gritty stuff I felt like it was a bit of a loss as well.
    I really enjoyed the getting together, but I began to discount the actual critique part.
    Then I moved away and found I knuckled down and finished something without a critique group to worry about. Now I’m mulling over joining a local group and I’m still not sure.
    My one piece of advice for anyone considering it, finish a project first. Then go to the critique group to get feedback. You’re less likely to get derailed and discouraged from a critique then. Although it can be discouraging to realize something in the first chapter needs to be changed and it will change the whole book. . .

    Reply
  73. Thank you for posting about this! It’s something I’ve been mulling over and asking a lot of people about! I’ve been in a critique group. They were kind, but not too kind and great at catching technical things and overarching story/plot things, but there were a few things that made it less than ideal.
    Part of it was me. I found if I presented the story too early in the process, just talking about it would kill my desire to write it.
    Part of it was a lot of focusing on what was “hot” and not finishing projects. They were all talented but they wouldn’t finish things and I felt at some level they enjoyed the “idea” of being writers rather than writing. That was frustrating to me as critiquer and just a reader that would have loved to see their work in print. There was one author that did take writing seriously and she was one of the few that had some success publishing. But I felt sometimes the critique and discussion focused too much on “this will sell well” rather than “does this work?”
    They all read some romance and weren’t book snobs thankfully, but none of them read in the subgenres I was interested in. So when I wanted to get down to nitty gritty stuff I felt like it was a bit of a loss as well.
    I really enjoyed the getting together, but I began to discount the actual critique part.
    Then I moved away and found I knuckled down and finished something without a critique group to worry about. Now I’m mulling over joining a local group and I’m still not sure.
    My one piece of advice for anyone considering it, finish a project first. Then go to the critique group to get feedback. You’re less likely to get derailed and discouraged from a critique then. Although it can be discouraging to realize something in the first chapter needs to be changed and it will change the whole book. . .

    Reply
  74. Thank you for posting about this! It’s something I’ve been mulling over and asking a lot of people about! I’ve been in a critique group. They were kind, but not too kind and great at catching technical things and overarching story/plot things, but there were a few things that made it less than ideal.
    Part of it was me. I found if I presented the story too early in the process, just talking about it would kill my desire to write it.
    Part of it was a lot of focusing on what was “hot” and not finishing projects. They were all talented but they wouldn’t finish things and I felt at some level they enjoyed the “idea” of being writers rather than writing. That was frustrating to me as critiquer and just a reader that would have loved to see their work in print. There was one author that did take writing seriously and she was one of the few that had some success publishing. But I felt sometimes the critique and discussion focused too much on “this will sell well” rather than “does this work?”
    They all read some romance and weren’t book snobs thankfully, but none of them read in the subgenres I was interested in. So when I wanted to get down to nitty gritty stuff I felt like it was a bit of a loss as well.
    I really enjoyed the getting together, but I began to discount the actual critique part.
    Then I moved away and found I knuckled down and finished something without a critique group to worry about. Now I’m mulling over joining a local group and I’m still not sure.
    My one piece of advice for anyone considering it, finish a project first. Then go to the critique group to get feedback. You’re less likely to get derailed and discouraged from a critique then. Although it can be discouraging to realize something in the first chapter needs to be changed and it will change the whole book. . .

    Reply
  75. Thank you for posting about this! It’s something I’ve been mulling over and asking a lot of people about! I’ve been in a critique group. They were kind, but not too kind and great at catching technical things and overarching story/plot things, but there were a few things that made it less than ideal.
    Part of it was me. I found if I presented the story too early in the process, just talking about it would kill my desire to write it.
    Part of it was a lot of focusing on what was “hot” and not finishing projects. They were all talented but they wouldn’t finish things and I felt at some level they enjoyed the “idea” of being writers rather than writing. That was frustrating to me as critiquer and just a reader that would have loved to see their work in print. There was one author that did take writing seriously and she was one of the few that had some success publishing. But I felt sometimes the critique and discussion focused too much on “this will sell well” rather than “does this work?”
    They all read some romance and weren’t book snobs thankfully, but none of them read in the subgenres I was interested in. So when I wanted to get down to nitty gritty stuff I felt like it was a bit of a loss as well.
    I really enjoyed the getting together, but I began to discount the actual critique part.
    Then I moved away and found I knuckled down and finished something without a critique group to worry about. Now I’m mulling over joining a local group and I’m still not sure.
    My one piece of advice for anyone considering it, finish a project first. Then go to the critique group to get feedback. You’re less likely to get derailed and discouraged from a critique then. Although it can be discouraging to realize something in the first chapter needs to be changed and it will change the whole book. . .

    Reply
  76. Great topic, Anne!
    I’ve tried crit groups, but they’re not for me because I invariably get so caught up in helping them that I’ve no time left to write. The best form of critiquing I’ve found thus far is RWA chapter contests. Most of the time, I’ll get one judge who is actually good, actually knows what he/she is talking about and actually knows how to explain why he/she doesn’t like the work and what might be done to effect improvement.
    If a writer decides to go the contest route, never enter to win. Of the contests I’ve won, the agent/editor feed back was so slight it couldn’t even qualify as a complete sentence.
    But, my writing has improved significantly because of contests. So much so that the last queried agent to reject my ms had real praise for my voice, plot, pacing and character development.

    Reply
  77. Great topic, Anne!
    I’ve tried crit groups, but they’re not for me because I invariably get so caught up in helping them that I’ve no time left to write. The best form of critiquing I’ve found thus far is RWA chapter contests. Most of the time, I’ll get one judge who is actually good, actually knows what he/she is talking about and actually knows how to explain why he/she doesn’t like the work and what might be done to effect improvement.
    If a writer decides to go the contest route, never enter to win. Of the contests I’ve won, the agent/editor feed back was so slight it couldn’t even qualify as a complete sentence.
    But, my writing has improved significantly because of contests. So much so that the last queried agent to reject my ms had real praise for my voice, plot, pacing and character development.

    Reply
  78. Great topic, Anne!
    I’ve tried crit groups, but they’re not for me because I invariably get so caught up in helping them that I’ve no time left to write. The best form of critiquing I’ve found thus far is RWA chapter contests. Most of the time, I’ll get one judge who is actually good, actually knows what he/she is talking about and actually knows how to explain why he/she doesn’t like the work and what might be done to effect improvement.
    If a writer decides to go the contest route, never enter to win. Of the contests I’ve won, the agent/editor feed back was so slight it couldn’t even qualify as a complete sentence.
    But, my writing has improved significantly because of contests. So much so that the last queried agent to reject my ms had real praise for my voice, plot, pacing and character development.

    Reply
  79. Great topic, Anne!
    I’ve tried crit groups, but they’re not for me because I invariably get so caught up in helping them that I’ve no time left to write. The best form of critiquing I’ve found thus far is RWA chapter contests. Most of the time, I’ll get one judge who is actually good, actually knows what he/she is talking about and actually knows how to explain why he/she doesn’t like the work and what might be done to effect improvement.
    If a writer decides to go the contest route, never enter to win. Of the contests I’ve won, the agent/editor feed back was so slight it couldn’t even qualify as a complete sentence.
    But, my writing has improved significantly because of contests. So much so that the last queried agent to reject my ms had real praise for my voice, plot, pacing and character development.

    Reply
  80. Great topic, Anne!
    I’ve tried crit groups, but they’re not for me because I invariably get so caught up in helping them that I’ve no time left to write. The best form of critiquing I’ve found thus far is RWA chapter contests. Most of the time, I’ll get one judge who is actually good, actually knows what he/she is talking about and actually knows how to explain why he/she doesn’t like the work and what might be done to effect improvement.
    If a writer decides to go the contest route, never enter to win. Of the contests I’ve won, the agent/editor feed back was so slight it couldn’t even qualify as a complete sentence.
    But, my writing has improved significantly because of contests. So much so that the last queried agent to reject my ms had real praise for my voice, plot, pacing and character development.

    Reply
  81. Some excellent points, Jill. I recognize many of the situations you’ve mentioned.
    Have you thought about trying just one or perhaps two critique partners, instead of a whole group? You could start by just swapping a chapter here and there with various people until you find someone who’s on the same wavelength. RWAustralia has a crit partner matching service, initiated and set up by the wonderful Rachel Bailey. She reads samples and matches people up who she think would go together, and it’s been a huge success.
    Nina, congratulations on the lovely feedback on your work from the agent. Contest feedback can indeed be a mixed bag, but as you say, sometimes it’s gold, and the nitty gritty they get into has taught many a writer to master some technical aspect or other. It’s also good training for being published and getting amazingly varied responses to your work.

    Reply
  82. Some excellent points, Jill. I recognize many of the situations you’ve mentioned.
    Have you thought about trying just one or perhaps two critique partners, instead of a whole group? You could start by just swapping a chapter here and there with various people until you find someone who’s on the same wavelength. RWAustralia has a crit partner matching service, initiated and set up by the wonderful Rachel Bailey. She reads samples and matches people up who she think would go together, and it’s been a huge success.
    Nina, congratulations on the lovely feedback on your work from the agent. Contest feedback can indeed be a mixed bag, but as you say, sometimes it’s gold, and the nitty gritty they get into has taught many a writer to master some technical aspect or other. It’s also good training for being published and getting amazingly varied responses to your work.

    Reply
  83. Some excellent points, Jill. I recognize many of the situations you’ve mentioned.
    Have you thought about trying just one or perhaps two critique partners, instead of a whole group? You could start by just swapping a chapter here and there with various people until you find someone who’s on the same wavelength. RWAustralia has a crit partner matching service, initiated and set up by the wonderful Rachel Bailey. She reads samples and matches people up who she think would go together, and it’s been a huge success.
    Nina, congratulations on the lovely feedback on your work from the agent. Contest feedback can indeed be a mixed bag, but as you say, sometimes it’s gold, and the nitty gritty they get into has taught many a writer to master some technical aspect or other. It’s also good training for being published and getting amazingly varied responses to your work.

    Reply
  84. Some excellent points, Jill. I recognize many of the situations you’ve mentioned.
    Have you thought about trying just one or perhaps two critique partners, instead of a whole group? You could start by just swapping a chapter here and there with various people until you find someone who’s on the same wavelength. RWAustralia has a crit partner matching service, initiated and set up by the wonderful Rachel Bailey. She reads samples and matches people up who she think would go together, and it’s been a huge success.
    Nina, congratulations on the lovely feedback on your work from the agent. Contest feedback can indeed be a mixed bag, but as you say, sometimes it’s gold, and the nitty gritty they get into has taught many a writer to master some technical aspect or other. It’s also good training for being published and getting amazingly varied responses to your work.

    Reply
  85. Some excellent points, Jill. I recognize many of the situations you’ve mentioned.
    Have you thought about trying just one or perhaps two critique partners, instead of a whole group? You could start by just swapping a chapter here and there with various people until you find someone who’s on the same wavelength. RWAustralia has a crit partner matching service, initiated and set up by the wonderful Rachel Bailey. She reads samples and matches people up who she think would go together, and it’s been a huge success.
    Nina, congratulations on the lovely feedback on your work from the agent. Contest feedback can indeed be a mixed bag, but as you say, sometimes it’s gold, and the nitty gritty they get into has taught many a writer to master some technical aspect or other. It’s also good training for being published and getting amazingly varied responses to your work.

    Reply
  86. The more I learn about other writers – mostly online these days – the more I realise how very different we all are in our tastes, outlook and routines. I have belonged to a critique group that got me very cross, frankly, pulling work apart for no good reason and seeing errors where none existed (one person insisted I changed a fact because it didn’t sound right to them, even though it actually was correct). It did feel like a feeding frenzy, or where some people spoke up just because they felt they ought to add something but had no real opinion or had only glanced at the work under discussion.
    I work best alone, or have done so far, and most of the professional writers I know work largely alone, only touching base with a trusted person like an editor, agent or good writing friend, rather than having a regular CP. So I feel fairly content to continue like that, even if it means missing occasional errors because I’m too close to the work. Things liek that can get picked up at a later stage, anyway, whereas having someone persuade you to rewrite something against your better judgement is far harder to unpick later if it all goes wrong.
    Impressed to see some here enjoy their critique groups though. I guess I’m just not a social enough animal for that kind of writing life.

    Reply
  87. The more I learn about other writers – mostly online these days – the more I realise how very different we all are in our tastes, outlook and routines. I have belonged to a critique group that got me very cross, frankly, pulling work apart for no good reason and seeing errors where none existed (one person insisted I changed a fact because it didn’t sound right to them, even though it actually was correct). It did feel like a feeding frenzy, or where some people spoke up just because they felt they ought to add something but had no real opinion or had only glanced at the work under discussion.
    I work best alone, or have done so far, and most of the professional writers I know work largely alone, only touching base with a trusted person like an editor, agent or good writing friend, rather than having a regular CP. So I feel fairly content to continue like that, even if it means missing occasional errors because I’m too close to the work. Things liek that can get picked up at a later stage, anyway, whereas having someone persuade you to rewrite something against your better judgement is far harder to unpick later if it all goes wrong.
    Impressed to see some here enjoy their critique groups though. I guess I’m just not a social enough animal for that kind of writing life.

    Reply
  88. The more I learn about other writers – mostly online these days – the more I realise how very different we all are in our tastes, outlook and routines. I have belonged to a critique group that got me very cross, frankly, pulling work apart for no good reason and seeing errors where none existed (one person insisted I changed a fact because it didn’t sound right to them, even though it actually was correct). It did feel like a feeding frenzy, or where some people spoke up just because they felt they ought to add something but had no real opinion or had only glanced at the work under discussion.
    I work best alone, or have done so far, and most of the professional writers I know work largely alone, only touching base with a trusted person like an editor, agent or good writing friend, rather than having a regular CP. So I feel fairly content to continue like that, even if it means missing occasional errors because I’m too close to the work. Things liek that can get picked up at a later stage, anyway, whereas having someone persuade you to rewrite something against your better judgement is far harder to unpick later if it all goes wrong.
    Impressed to see some here enjoy their critique groups though. I guess I’m just not a social enough animal for that kind of writing life.

    Reply
  89. The more I learn about other writers – mostly online these days – the more I realise how very different we all are in our tastes, outlook and routines. I have belonged to a critique group that got me very cross, frankly, pulling work apart for no good reason and seeing errors where none existed (one person insisted I changed a fact because it didn’t sound right to them, even though it actually was correct). It did feel like a feeding frenzy, or where some people spoke up just because they felt they ought to add something but had no real opinion or had only glanced at the work under discussion.
    I work best alone, or have done so far, and most of the professional writers I know work largely alone, only touching base with a trusted person like an editor, agent or good writing friend, rather than having a regular CP. So I feel fairly content to continue like that, even if it means missing occasional errors because I’m too close to the work. Things liek that can get picked up at a later stage, anyway, whereas having someone persuade you to rewrite something against your better judgement is far harder to unpick later if it all goes wrong.
    Impressed to see some here enjoy their critique groups though. I guess I’m just not a social enough animal for that kind of writing life.

    Reply
  90. The more I learn about other writers – mostly online these days – the more I realise how very different we all are in our tastes, outlook and routines. I have belonged to a critique group that got me very cross, frankly, pulling work apart for no good reason and seeing errors where none existed (one person insisted I changed a fact because it didn’t sound right to them, even though it actually was correct). It did feel like a feeding frenzy, or where some people spoke up just because they felt they ought to add something but had no real opinion or had only glanced at the work under discussion.
    I work best alone, or have done so far, and most of the professional writers I know work largely alone, only touching base with a trusted person like an editor, agent or good writing friend, rather than having a regular CP. So I feel fairly content to continue like that, even if it means missing occasional errors because I’m too close to the work. Things liek that can get picked up at a later stage, anyway, whereas having someone persuade you to rewrite something against your better judgement is far harder to unpick later if it all goes wrong.
    Impressed to see some here enjoy their critique groups though. I guess I’m just not a social enough animal for that kind of writing life.

    Reply
  91. Jane, we can learn more about how writers work than ever these days. Most are accessible on line and there are so many blogs and interviews, not to mention writing tips on websites (I have them myself) and I think what it proves over and over that writing methods are as individual as writers, and that there’s no right way — only the way that suits you best.
    If you work best alone, that’s a good thing, IMO, because it’s more likely your writing won’t get ‘homogenized’ from over critiquing, and your individual voice will stay fresh.
    Best of luck with your writing.

    Reply
  92. Jane, we can learn more about how writers work than ever these days. Most are accessible on line and there are so many blogs and interviews, not to mention writing tips on websites (I have them myself) and I think what it proves over and over that writing methods are as individual as writers, and that there’s no right way — only the way that suits you best.
    If you work best alone, that’s a good thing, IMO, because it’s more likely your writing won’t get ‘homogenized’ from over critiquing, and your individual voice will stay fresh.
    Best of luck with your writing.

    Reply
  93. Jane, we can learn more about how writers work than ever these days. Most are accessible on line and there are so many blogs and interviews, not to mention writing tips on websites (I have them myself) and I think what it proves over and over that writing methods are as individual as writers, and that there’s no right way — only the way that suits you best.
    If you work best alone, that’s a good thing, IMO, because it’s more likely your writing won’t get ‘homogenized’ from over critiquing, and your individual voice will stay fresh.
    Best of luck with your writing.

    Reply
  94. Jane, we can learn more about how writers work than ever these days. Most are accessible on line and there are so many blogs and interviews, not to mention writing tips on websites (I have them myself) and I think what it proves over and over that writing methods are as individual as writers, and that there’s no right way — only the way that suits you best.
    If you work best alone, that’s a good thing, IMO, because it’s more likely your writing won’t get ‘homogenized’ from over critiquing, and your individual voice will stay fresh.
    Best of luck with your writing.

    Reply
  95. Jane, we can learn more about how writers work than ever these days. Most are accessible on line and there are so many blogs and interviews, not to mention writing tips on websites (I have them myself) and I think what it proves over and over that writing methods are as individual as writers, and that there’s no right way — only the way that suits you best.
    If you work best alone, that’s a good thing, IMO, because it’s more likely your writing won’t get ‘homogenized’ from over critiquing, and your individual voice will stay fresh.
    Best of luck with your writing.

    Reply
  96. Thanks, Anne! Being laid up with a broken ankle has created loads of great writing time. When I get back on my feet (think Easter) I’m gonna miss it (but not the cabin fever) 🙂

    Reply
  97. Thanks, Anne! Being laid up with a broken ankle has created loads of great writing time. When I get back on my feet (think Easter) I’m gonna miss it (but not the cabin fever) 🙂

    Reply
  98. Thanks, Anne! Being laid up with a broken ankle has created loads of great writing time. When I get back on my feet (think Easter) I’m gonna miss it (but not the cabin fever) 🙂

    Reply
  99. Thanks, Anne! Being laid up with a broken ankle has created loads of great writing time. When I get back on my feet (think Easter) I’m gonna miss it (but not the cabin fever) 🙂

    Reply
  100. Thanks, Anne! Being laid up with a broken ankle has created loads of great writing time. When I get back on my feet (think Easter) I’m gonna miss it (but not the cabin fever) 🙂

    Reply

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