I've been in a dedicated critique group, consisting of a former publisher and a published authors for the past year and a half. There have been amazing benefits, not only for my writing but also in enjoying the works of others.
So here are a few things I've noticed maximize the critique group experience:
1. Avoid Explanation/Defending Your Writing. The more you have to explain to others, the more editing you have to do. We have one member of our critique group who just nods when we pose questions and takes notes. The group also feels more open to express opinion.
2. Come Prepared With Questions. Kickstart the discussion with one or two thoughtful questions about character, plot or pacing. Help steer the discussion towards the weaker parts of your writing. It also doesn't hurt to ask what your fellow group members think you are doing well.
3. Critique Strengths & Weaknesses of Others. Authors come to critique groups for several reasons, but gaining support from fellow authors is one of them. Of course positive critique is essential, but helping your group members understand what they do well can help them play to their strengths.
4. Ignore Punctuation/Copyline Editing. This will inevitably be a waste of time. Each publishing company has it's own way of doing things.
5. Sleep On It. Wait overnight, or at least a day before tackling the suggestions you brought home from your critique group. Initially, if you've got a good group and you've listened well, you'll come home pretty wounded. But after you've had a good night's sleep, you'll start to get excited about the changes you're going to make.
What suggestions do you have for members of critique groups?
Young Adult Fiction