What To Look For In A Critique Group
- 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.
- 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?
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.