Critique Groups

I’ve been participating in a lively discussion on a public blog on critique or writer groups for the past couple of weeks. Those who added comments about why someone would go to a writer group, both pro and con. Seems like a lot of people had negative experiences with their first group, just like I did. My first group was a disaster — former teacher wanted to give out assignments to members rather than allow writers to bring in their own work and present it for comments.

I stayed away from such groups until I moved to Smith Mountain Lake. Within a year, I joined the Lake Writers and found a lively but varied group of people passionate about the written word. We have poets, essayists, novelists, playwrites, and non-fiction writers.

Then I joined the Valley Writers in Roanoke. That’s not as convenient, since it’s about 25 miles each way; however, I carpool with two fellow writers. There is some overlap in membership.

Here’s what I like being a member of both groups:

  • Former English teachers who do line edits for grammar, cliches, and the dreadful adverb.
  • Critical listeners who help with voice.
  • Critical readers who comment on story plot, character, and whether or not s/he feels what is important.
  • Poets who by nature labor over each word to help trim unnecessary words, stamp out poor word choice, and offer suggestions for different phrases.
  • Put these folks together and you have a terrific critique group that works with you to help you become a better writer. I have found my critique group home.

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