Sunday, June 14, 2015

The Weekend Writer: Yeah, I'm Still On Writing Groups

Yes, I'm talking about writing groups again, mainly because I stumbled upon this great post, How to Find the Right Critique Group or Partner for You by Brooke McIntyre at Jane Friedman. This post covers two general areas.

What To Look For In A Critique Group

  1. Shared Purpose And Similar Stage. Speaking from experience, I can say that the writing group that was a mixture of interests--adult and children's lit--wasn't as successful for me as the one that is all children's writers. And the business about members being at a similar stage in their careers I found to be true, too.
  2. Pace, Meaning Workload. If the critique group requires producing a certain amount of work, can you do it comfortably? Can you manage the amount of reading and responding involved, particularly if this is a group that requires doing this on your own time? Are you comfortable with the frequency of meetings?
  3. Comfort Level With Critiquing. Do the members know how to do it?

How To Find A Critique Group 


Yes, just finding a group can be tricky. Around here you can find some at libraries and bookstores, though that's very hit or miss. This article had some other ideas:
  1. Writing Associations. Writers' groups run under the sponsorship of a writers' association may have better trained, more experienced members, even if they haven't been published, because they may have attended conferences and workshops that the associations run.
  2. Conferences. Networking while attending these could lead to a group. By the way, I've heard of people getting started with writing groups while in graduate school, putting together groups with classmates. For that matter, just this morning I heard about an award winning nonfiction children's writer whose writers' group formed from an adult education writing class she attended at a high school.
  3. Meetup. I had never heard of Meetup, a site that collects real world groups on many topics, not just writing. This seems like a long shot to me, but interesting, nonetheless. It won't take a lot of effort to check the site out for your area.
  4. Online Groups. I have no experience with these, but this article lists a number of them to look into.

But, Hey, Jane Austen Didn't Have No Critique Group

This week I saw If Jane Austen Got Feedback From Some Guy In A Writing Workshop a couple of times on Facebook. It's very funny, and, yes, makes the point that in spite of all the critique/writers' group loving we hear these days, not all feedback is useful. But we get to decide whether to use comments about hair ribbons or not.

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