Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Critique Groups

I've read all kinds of articles about finding a good critique group, how to do critiques, and even how to separate from a critique group that isn't working. (Luckily haven't needed to use that advice.)

All these articles say the group I'm in shouldn't work.  We just happened on each other.  We don't write the same romance subgenres. In fact, we don't even write the same overarching genres. There's sweet contemporary romance, YA paranormal, crime/mystery and even literary fiction.  But it has worked phenomenally.

When we started, none of us had published a novel.  We were all working on our first or second manuscript. We were in the same boat and maybe that's what allowed us to start.

We each bring something different to the table at the coffee shop where we meet: mechanics, style, experience, emotion, characterization.  Our critiques are balanced because of this.  We can be certain that someone at the table will catch what is off about a scene.

The most important reason our group works is trust.  We trust that each recommendation is given to help improve our book.  No one tears anyone down.  We are there to make our writing better and to learn from the others.

In the last five years, we've gone through a lot  together, including getting seven books, as well as some short stories,  between us published.  I can't wait to see what the next five bring.


chocoaddict said...

Amen to critique groups! I thought I had a great novel that was almost ready for submitting, but looking at it through two more pairs of eyes really taught me a lot. And it's true about the trust issue. There has to be that element of belief in each other and a mutual desire to help each one of us succeeed.

Patty K

WS Gager said...

Trust is a big issue. You can't find it just anywhere. I've been so lucky with my critic group! They are just phenomenal women first, a great writers second.

W.S. Gager

J Q Rose said...

Here's to the next five years!!

Joselyn Vaughn said...

Patty - Exactly. They've been so helpful in showing me what was missing. It usually something that's been in my head, but I didn't get on the page. It's wonderful. I'm not sure I could write without them.

Jillian Grant said...

Amen, sister! I leave the group energized to write, full of ideas, and knowing how to fix the things I thought I couldn't. My book would be under the bed without this group.

Anonymous said...

Great post Joselyn! I'm a member of a 10 person online critique group. We've never met in person, but they're like family.

We all bring something different to the table. Some are good at plot holes, others at grammar, some are big picture people, while others yet focus on characters etc.

And each success for one person is a success for the group.