I was a little nervous to join a critique group.
The reasons? I wasn't sure my work was good enough or my skin tough enough.
Now that I'm in a group, I can attest that those reasons are true BUT only AFTER the critique. I have to put away the edited chapter for about ten days before I can fix it and that's okay. I work on other writing in the meantime.
Because of my group (we should come up with a name!) I've been able to see my weaknesses and hopefully work on them while I write.
Because of my group, I've been able to recognize my strengthens as well.
Here are a few ideas/questions for creating a critique group:
- Do want the group to be genre specific or general? Fiction vs. nonfiction?
- 4-5 people are a good start on a group. The group needs to have rules for adding members or bringing people to the group.
- Pick a day, time, how often and how long to meet.
- Does everyone need to bring a chapter each meeting? Do you want to focus on one piece or give everyone a turn? You might need to set a time limit for each piece as well. Do you want everyone to email their work to the group ahead of time or bring a hard copy and read aloud?
- What is the commitment level of the group? Be there every meeting? Is everyone okay if someone doesn't show up for months?
- Pick a location that works for everyone. At a home or restaurant or library, what your group decides.
- Have phone list including cell. Also, Facebook, Yahoo or Google list is a great way to stay connected. Work can also be sent through a couple of these groups to the critique group.
- Don't talk about others work outside of the group.
- Critique the writing, not the writer.