My critique group is fantastic.
We’ve only been meeting for sixth months or so but we clicked at the outset. Our schedule is ideal – often enough though, not overwhelming. We deal with something regularly, sending 2000 words one week, meeting live to discuss them the next. It keeps us on task and with only four of us, time is very manageable.
It’s a drive for all of us, arriving from Brigham City to Salt Lake and points in between. But they’re worth the trip. We’re dedicated writers, committed to craft. We all attended WIFYR this summer. We view the world from differing time frames, with one each in our 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s (until one of us messed that up by advancing to the next decade). We vary in culture and lifestyle as well. Each brings to the table a unique perspective. And they are sharp.
After WIFYR, we dispersed. Summer family plans made critiquing hard to arrange. We’re back now and these people are just as good as they were last June. I was ready for a beta read to which they readily agreed. Explicit instructions were for them to take their time, a full MS more than our 2000 word limit. That would give me time to spend on a new endeavor.
Those little over-achievers didn’t listen. They returned it the next session. And they’ve forced me back into the old project. I’m really tired of that timeworn thing, but their counsel is amazing, advancing it toward completion.
Yet, at times their guidance is discomforting. They tell me things I disagree with or don’t want to hear, things that chip away at the story’s foundation. A few days later I come around to see they are right. Or I figure out a way to ignore them or work around their ideas. But mostly they’re right.
I’m revising now, as per their suggestions. The rougher edges are being smoothed out, the wholes getting plugged. I’m free to disregard their suggestions or be impressed by their insight. I hope I contribute as much as I take.