Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Critique Groups



Critique groups are a very simple and fun way to get feedback on your manuscript. They can be in-person groups where you meet face to face, or on-line groups where you send e-mails back-and-forth. For the most part, critique groups will be people that you’ve met (either on-line or in-person). They are people with whom you will probably exchange several chapters or even manuscripts over the years.
If you stick with one critique group for long enough, they become like a family. They see you and your novel at its worst. They know you. When your book is published and you are writing your page of thanks yous, these are the people that get all the inside jokes and secret codes. (For my group, there will be a mention of bananas and possibly chickens and an extra thanks for keeping me safe from the alien-ninjas.)
The downside to critique groups is that if it isn’t the right fit for you or your story, you’ll be miserable and your story will not be helped. It is tricky finding the right balance of people and the right meshing of personalities. Don’t be afraid to leave a group if it isn’t helping you.
Finding the right critique group is like finding the perfect pair of shoes—only better because shoes don’t help make your novel awesome and make you laugh.
The best advice for a critique group:
1.      Help the others in your group. In critiquing their works, you’ll learn how to make yours better—guarantee. And as a group, you’ll grow together.
2.      Get to know the others in your group. As you exchange stories, you’ll be able to understand their feedback as you get to know the people giving it. You’ll grow comfortable with their critiquing style and ways of phrasing things. Everyone is different and in order to get the most from your critiques, knowing the critiquer is important.
Tune in  on Friday for tips on using writing websites for an editing source.

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