Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Judge not lest I can judge you too!

Let's talk about critique groups. I've been to the bad and I've been to the good. The worst was the one where the two most vocal guys in the group would harp on one or two words in the chapter. Especially words of the four letter kind. Like real life people never uttered such a word. ~~~Okay, avoid that kind of group. Sadly, one or two wackos can truly ruin a group.
A good group gives you positive feedback even while they tell you where your problems are. They watch for punctuation, story flow, head hopping and grammar. And they deliver the critique in a positive and encouraging manner. These groups are out there but usually it takes some time and patience to find.
The important thing is you don't stop looking. If one critique group doesn't fit, keep looking. Or even develop one on your own.
Critique groups are like shoes. Try them on, walk around a bit and if they pinch a nerve put them back on the shelf. Sooner or later you'll find the support and insight you seek.
But if you don't keep looking, you'll never know what's out there just waiting to ignite your passions.


Charles Gramlich said...

Our critique group is currently undergoing some major guideline restructuring to try to deal with these kinds of issues.

Natasha Fondren said...

I sat in a critique group for a while. I was pretty much appalled that they brainstormed to market, rather than originality. They were great and nice, but it's just not for me. I rarely have something ready for public consumption before I have to turn it in.

Rick said...

What an insightful post. I've only been to two such groups, but it was clear from the start that writing groups are no different from other groups- sometimes the dynamics are good, sometimes they aren't.

Uninvoked said...

I recommend www.critiquecircle.com for those without access to live groups.