Author Topic: Critique Groups  (Read 4521 times)

Offline MarkQuiet

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Critique Groups
« on: March 22, 2010, 05:50:11 PM »
I'm curious. Has anyone been part of a face-to-face critique group and/or online critque groups? What do they do? More importantly how do they work? What are the general "rules" or "etiquettes" for such groups? I'm a bit nervous about venturing into this areana without a little fore knowledge on the subject. I'm assuming it is similar to what QT has here with the Querys, 1st Five Pages, and Synopsis - but more general. Am I right or out in left field?
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Offline Isabella Morgan

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2010, 06:09:27 PM »
I've found an post on critique groups at jhutchenson's blog that may help  :)

Offline Jessica V.

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2010, 07:36:56 PM »
Every critique group is different and will have different rules. Normally, (when you join a good one), rules are set up at the beginning. Generally it will be a lot like here on QT - you'll discuss/critique first five pages, chapter by chapter, synopsis, query, etc... Good luck!
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Offline wordsmith

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2010, 02:40:55 PM »
Mark, as a matter of personal preference, I have never participated in any online crit groups. I have, however, been a member of several local groups, one of which I eventually became the group moderator for many years. The groups ranged from an old, established and honored group of both writers (of all genres - fiction and non-) and actors which has been around for close to forty years and still going strong, to a fairly new group which is still feeling its way through its scifi base. In-between are several others of varying stability and range.

Some groups focus on one particular specialty/genres, fiction, non-fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, thriller, etc. Others open their doors to all genres. Any successful group will have specific rules of conduct as far as crits and other commentary on others' writing. Some charge dues - which are generally used for a flower fund for ailing or celebrating members, or publishing an annual anthology of competitively submitted shorts, essays, etc. (the one group of which I was a member that had this setup charged a standard submission fee from which 1st, 2d, and 3d place winners were awarded cash prizes along with publication of their winning entries in the annual anthology. They regularly have submissions from around the country. Publication fees were paid out of annual membership dues.)

Some groups can be more social, while others are more businesslike. They may meet in a regular location such as a library or art gallery or they might be a 'traveling' guild that meets in a different place each week or month with pitch-in meals provided by the members.

The most important thing in any crit group is whether or not the members are all compatible. If they are not, there will be tension and attitude problems that can, if left unchecked, end up dismantling the entire group.

Offline bodwen

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2010, 02:49:27 PM »
The number one rule is: if you feel uncomfortable, leave.

Offline Oxlahun

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2010, 05:07:05 PM »
i participate in a face to face critique group and we are rather casual. We meet twice a month and each bring a chapter to read. We cannot read our own work aloud and the others make notes on their copies of the chapter. At the end of each chapter we talk about bigger issues or things the entire group thought of. We have six members (including myself) all women and we write a variety of works from memoir to fantasy to commercial thriller. Our rules are to be detailed about what is wrong and be constructive.
once i treid going to a genre specific group but found it awkward and stiff and also the day i went it was held in a public place and there was only one other member (albeit was valentines day).
I really like my critique group and have had some wonderful times with them.
I hope you find a good fit in your area. Our group met through the continuing education at the local college but also see if you have a local writer's guild (mine is SWW but i am not a member) often the 'guilds' have a newsletter with a classified section with groups seeking members and such.
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Offline Jim W

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2010, 05:40:46 PM »
Hey Mark,

I've been part of two crit groups.  One was way back in 2001, and it was kind of a workshop/class.  I'm also part of a crit group of four (sadly, it will be breaking up at the end of August).  I found both groups useful, but for different things at different times in my writing life.  The workshop ran for about four months and met three times a week.  I learned a lot in that class, but most of it really came from the guy that ran the workshop.  I learned a lot about criticism (or what passes for it among some), and what you really want in a crit group is people that write well and fun to talk with, but also aren't afraid of throwing a punch at your work.  Some crit groups click and some don't.

I think crit groups are really good for beginning writers, particularly if the group has a competent moderator.  Forming your own group is trickier, because a lot of people aren't as serious about writing as they let on.  You have to be careful about who you work with.  You want someone that knows how to write, working at or above your own level.  Unfortunately, the less formal crit groups have a tendency to work in different directions.  You can have a neophyte writer, people who write poetry and short fiction, or people who write in genres you aren't as comfortable with.  Some people will critique that last sentence, for instance, for ending in a preposition. :inocent:  You can also find people who write in genres you are familiar with and write with enough competency to help you grow.  Ideally, you'll do the same for them.  Crit groups are really good for sharpening your editorial sense and revision techniques, and if you have trouble writing regularly, having a crit group deadline can be helpful.  They can prove to be invaluable if you're serious about getting published.

But I don't think crit groups are absolutely necessary.  If you have good beta readers, many of the functions crit groups provide are fulfilled.  But there's something to be said for talking and communicating with others who are familiar with your daily tasks, the difficulties of being a writer--that's something a beta reader may not provide.

I can't really comment on on-line crit groups, because I've never been part of one.  I may be joining you in discovering that part of the writing community, however.  I'm pretty isolated where I live, and losing my existing crit group is going to smart.

Offline Magic_Seeker

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Re: Critique Groups
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2010, 06:20:40 PM »
I'm part of an online crit group, and their feedback has been invaluable!  :bow:  Lurve* those people!  They've pointed out plot holes, inconsistancies, you name it.  I value my beta readers, but their feedback is rarely concrete.

I have noticed that the worst writers give the worst feedback.  That's one reason to find a group where most partners are at least as good as you are.

*  I'm told "lurve" is better than "love".  :wink:
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