November 18, 2009

Crit Groups


I've been thinking alot about critique groups lately and wondering if I should try to find one. I've been praying about it for awhile and then read Lynnette Labelle's blog Chatterbox Chit Chat. She has become a matchmaker for those who are interested in joining a crit group. All you have to do is shoot her an email and answer a set of questions.

I sent her an email. And I am nervous.

Many of you know my dad is an editor and does work for some really famous people. He has my first MS and has started editing it. He has alot of work himself right now, so hasn't gotten very far in the edits and I am itching to get my hands on it once again. I think I need to start working on it, digging in and really making myself learn how to edit.

I think a critique group might help me. I think it would give me different perspectives and teach me many things I couldn't learn on my own.

For those of you in crit groups, how often do you crit? How much do you crit per person in the group? What is the norm? Is there a norm?

Inquiring minds want to know...


21 comments:

  1. Hey Sherrinda,
    A crit group is very helpful, as long as there is a respectful atmosphere.
    The first crit group I joined was Charlotte Dillon's online RWC group. It was an excellent way to become use to critiques. You'll get varying opinions, people from different genres reading your work, etc. But you also have to crit others' work too, which takes time.
    Now I'm in a smaller group with all inspirational writers. We sub a chapter a week and crit what we can.
    I hope you find a wonderful group. You should really check out RWC until you find a small group. It's a great experience there.

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  2. Hi, Sherrinda. I can't offer much because I've never tried a crit group, but I am curious, like you. I am joining up with a critique partner in the very near future for the first time, and I'm super excited. I know this person and I click on a personal blogger level, so I'm almost sure she and I will click on a writing level as well. My biggest fear is that I'll disappoing someone I've agreed to help on the critique/edit level. Hopefully, that's just the normal, self-doubt thing we writers do.

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  3. My crit group has a mandatory 1 crit per week rule--just to keep people participating. A lot do more than that if they have the time, though. If you are a fast writer and submit more than a chapter a week, then you have to do an extra crit for each extra chapter you submit. (To keep things fair)
    But if something comes up and you can't do a crit, it isn't the end of the world.
    We're a VERY relaxed group.

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  4. Sherrinda, There is no one more nervous than me! I didn't know that Lynette was doing matchmaking, I'll tuck that away. I'm impressed with your bravery. ;)

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  5. I belong to a writing group and we critique our writing at our meetings. We are not real formal. During the summer, we have met less because people have been so busy. We bring what we are working on to the meetings. We usually read an entire PB, a chapter, or a short story, or poem. We give copies to everyone so they can read along with us as we go. We edit on the paper and offer advice to the reader regarding their story. I love it and usually have something to read at each meeting. We used to meet every week, but lately haven't been meeting as much. Some of the people don't write a lot and they are the ones who don't show up as often. I would love to be a critique partner one on one with someone who writes the same genre with me. Don't be nervous, you'll be great and you will love the feedback, good or bad.

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  6. I love the critique group I belong to. We all trust each other, and that's something that takes time and a few critiques to develop. I know they'll point out the fact I've used the same word over and over (although I don't see it on my own!), and they'll tell me if the character is being kind of dumb.

    It's always nerve-wracking giving someone your work, but it's also wonderful to have honest advice.

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  7. Sherrinda, I think a crit group can be invaluable. Objective eyes on your stuff, and a chance to work on someone else's stuff to learn.

    I love my crit partners to death, but those relationships formed organically, because we were friends. I've tried a couple of 'blind date' crit groups in the past, and those just haven't worked as well for me.

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  8. Thanks for the link. Don't worry. It'll all work out in the end. At the very least, if you don't click with your group, you'll learn a few things, tuck that away, and move on. There's no harm in trying. You never know. You just might click and have a crit partner for life. ;)

    Lynnette Labelle
    http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

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  9. If I were you I'd try one out on a trial basis and see what you think. You may be pleasantly surprised with how helpful it can be and like reading others WIPs as well.

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  10. Jessica, I will have to look into RWC...though I am not even sure what that is!!! lol

    Heather, good luck with your new crit partner! I'm sure you will do GREAT!

    Jennifer, relaxed sounds like the way to go! I would need the relaxed, flexible atmosphere, I think.

    T.Anne, you should email Lynnette and give it a try! A leap of faith! I don't know that I am brave, but I know I need some accountability to push me forward.

    Janet, I would love to be in a group that met, but I think meeting weekly would be difficult. People's schedules are so busy...I know mine is! At least with it online, I could stay up late or get up early to do a crit if I had to.

    Jill, it is rather nice to hear that you get nervous sharing your work. :) Makes me feel a tad bit better because you always seem so confident!

    Erica, I think to have a crit partner who was first a friend would be heavenly! You already have the trust established!

    Lynnette, I think what you are doing is so nice! It is one of those writer helping other writers thing that I love so much. :)

    Eileen, I think the whole idea of crit groups are appealing. To have several eyes and several opinions that are in agreement about a certain area would confirm the need for some major editing. That is what I need.

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  11. If you want to find a critique group, you may have to go through several, before you find one that's right for you. I think writers, especially beginning ones, need some outside input, and this is where crit groups can be helpful. But some groups may not be right, for a variety of reasons, for any given writer. At least this is what I found out. Writing is a very individual process, and everyone's needs are different. Take your time and don't stress about it. You'll find something that works eventually.

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  12. I'm not in one yet. I would like to be, but I'm adding so many new things to my life right now that this one needs to wait.

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  13. I think it's awesome Lynnette is helping writers find critique partners.

    I really feel a critique group is invaluable and I love mine. We are honest with each other and we all support each other and friendships have formed from it. It's wonderful to have like-minded people to look at your work and give you sincere and helpful feedback that nudges you along on your journey.

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  14. I love crit groups!

    I meet with my local crit partner every other week, and we exchange at least a few chapters on the time. I submit 1-2 chapters to my online crit group every week. It's a pretty aggressive schedule, but I like it!

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  15. I have two crit partners, and we crit off an on, with no set schedule. Just depends if we write something that needs critting. We're there for each other when we need crits, just the way I like it!

    I've definitely grown from the process, that's for sure!

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  16. Thanks Anne! I like to think I won't stress too much! I think it is more of the fear of the unknown. But I'm very adaptable and will get the hang of it.

    Kristen, Aren't you smart, knowing when to say no...or not yet! I've say yes way too often, but I think it is time to get me some accountability and take the next step.

    Cindy, I hope I can get nudged far enough along that I really grow in writing. Like you, I think Lynnett is awesome to do this matchmaking thing!

    Wow, Beth, you do run a tight schedule. I can't imagine doing that much. Maybe someday!!!

    Katie, I love the flexibility you have with your crit partners. I hope I can find something similar. :)

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  17. One more thing I thought of here: If you can't find a critique groupm t=you might be able to find a critique partner who will help you. I found one, and we have become friends, as well. We meet every week. She has a bunch of chapters, and I have a bunch of chapters, and we exchange them, and give our best to the process. I've made suggestions to her; she's caught some of my glaring errors(I'm writing an epic-length piece of "romantic science fiction" set in medieval England, and divided into three books. I'd find this impossible otherwise!

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  18. Oh Anne, I love medieval!!! And I'm so impressed you are writing an epic! Wow! I'm sure a crit partner would work just as good as a crit group and I'm glad you have one! That's awesome!

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  19. Thanks, Sherrinda. I really feel like I don't know what I'm doing, despite a good deal of research. But then, I've done a good deal of research on prehistoric humans, and I don't feel like I know what I'm doing there. I'm basically combining both themes, which makes it even worse.
    Anne G

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  20. I love my critique group. We meet once a week, and they all bring different talents and experience. We don't have any rules about what to bring and when. We just get together, and if people have stuff, great, and if not, we chat. It works for us.

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  21. Kaylie:

    You're lucky. I had trouble with the critique groups I was in, before I found my writing partner. They tended to meet every twoo weeks, and I just got the feeling they weren't serious about their writing to meet once a week and keep producing. One woman thought going to Weight Watchers was more important. She had to "lose those last ten pounds".
    Anne G

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