Thursday, August 19, 2010

Critique Group

My critique partner has turned into a critique group and now we are three.

This is good, of course; the more eyes on your work, the better, right?

I've been working on some guidelines for out little group, eliciting input from other writers I know who are in groups. One answer was pretty useless: "Well, every group is different and it depends on what you're looking for."

This, I know.

So I e-mailed another friend, asked some specific questions and got back a 13-point dissertation.

That was helpful.

I sent another e-mail to yet another friend and am currently waiting a reply.

But I have concerns.

One major concern and one minor concern.

I'm afraid one of my new CPs isn't going to be handle it--the critiques or the commitment. Maybe I'm wrong. I hope I'm wrong. That's the major one.

The minor one is that I'm afraid I'm really not going to get what I need from this group, at least from the above mentioned CP. I swear I'm not trying to toot my own horn, but in recently reading chapters from both these women, I appear to be the more advanced writer. It's a tough job, but someone--okay, just kidding.

I know one of them is a beginner. She's only been in our writing chapter maybe a year and has said she's new to romance writing. I knew that going in, but she's writing what I'm writing *and* she's read a ton of what we want to write, so my advantage was that she could help me meet the criteria of our new genre.

Now, the newest member I've known for, oh...four years now. I think. Something like that. But she's gone through a lot of personal upheaval in the last few years and as you would expect, her writing, while important to her, had to take a back seat as she dealt with real life. So basically she hasn't grown much as a writer. Not that I fault her, but will she be able to help my writing as I'm pretty sure I can help hers?

So what do I get out of this relationship I'm now committed to?

I've read and heard that critique groups should be made up of writers at a variety of levels. That's really great for those writers at the lower levels, but what about the writer at the highest level? Maybe if they struggle with spelling and punctuation or...

But as I'm writing, things are coming to me...if the advanced writer struggles with shallow descritions...yes, she gets feedback; if the advanced writer struggles with...well, name your issue...she gets feedback. If the other writers grasp those concepts already. If they don't, then...what?

I'm afraid I'm going to be cheated.

I'm whining. Sorry. Let me go find some cheese and we'll see how Saturday's critique meeting goes.


mtnchild said...

Well ....... can you get more people in your group? That should help a little bit ... yes? Then again, you might be surprised.

Like you said, write down some guidelines making sure that tough critique is not criticism, but a help to get everyone published.

Love you

Regina Richards said...

I've done over 250 critiques and received over 150 in return from dozens of writers.

I've found that writing v. critiquing is much like coaching sports v. playing sports. You can be a great player and a mediocre coach or a great coach and a mediocre player. I've received some pretty terrific crits from developing writers and some fairly useless crits from some much-published types.

You'll just have to see how it goes. Good luck!

Jen FitzGerald said...

Thanks, Ladies.