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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Value of a Critique Group

     When I was first encouraged to join a critique group I was very anxious about it.
     What if my writing wasn't up to par compared to the rest of the group? Would I be able to critique the work of other writers in a helpful manner?  How many grammatical mistakes and misspellings, plus basic writing rules would I be in the red with?
     Well, the only way to know was to go for it. So, I did. After the first critique there were red comments to the right side of my page all the way down nearly every page of my first chapter.  I winced. I hated what the comments said. Not because of the veracity of them, but because of the realization of my ignorance in writing good fiction. (I had written and published only non-fiction in the past. A whole other ball game.)
     But I read the comments and took their advice. I learned all about POV and TELLING. Neither of which I'd ever heard of before joining the group. It's amazing they kept me on. But I am grateful, because I learned and improved my craft.

     I remember one former member of the group who noticed how often I used exclamation marks. When I read through the chapter I almost laughed aloud. Nearly every other sentence had one or two at the end of it. Perhaps I was writing the way I often speak...with emphasis! Maybe too much so.
     Reading the work of the others in the group was an inspiration for me to keep at it. Some were quite experienced and published. I knew I was with a group of authors I aspired to be like.
     Now, I look forward to doing critiques and in receiving them. It's great when others catch something I've
overlooked, even after reading it several times. It assures that my submissions to my agent will be as error-free as possible.
    So, if you're a new writer, or even a well seasoned one, and haven't had the experience of being in a critique group, I highly recommend it. Yes, it takes some time to critique the work of the other writers in return, but it is interesting to read their stories and styles of writing, and the payback of their critiques is well worth it.


  1. A very encouraging post to get authors into friendly crit-groups. Thanks for posting.

  2. Yes, the red ink stings and even hurts like crazy sometimes, but it sure does help in the long run, doesn't it? A good crit group is a treasure!

  3. A helpful post, Linda. Reminds me of Proverbs 27:17
    "As iron sharpens iron,so one person sharpens another."

  4. Amen, Janet. Precisely the scripture for authors and their crit partners. Crit partners are GOLD!

  5. Thanks for the comments,fellow writers. I learn a lot from 'our' group as well.:)