Tuesday, February 9

A good group

On one of the loops I'm on, a new member asked about forming a crit group.
Boy, do I have advice!
Writing, by it's very nature, is personal. It's something that comes from the heart. It's an art that not everyone can do.
But it can be so personal that we sometimes need an impartial eye to point out flaws. This is where a good CP is worth her weight in gold.
But a good Cp doesn't just come along. Trust me, I know. I have been through a lot!
Have I been through a lot because I'm difficult? Possibly.
But it's also because I've been on a quest for the perfect group, dragging my buddy Kristi along, for a long time. And I think I've finally found it in a group of women who make up this blog and also a group called CritiqueMe.
We have never met face to face, and it is unlikely that we ever will. Maybe, if Iwin the lottery and take us all to Paris for a week, but now I'm dreaming.
So, you ask, what makes this crit group work when others haven't.
For me, it's respect.
We don't have to love what the others write, and to be frank, sometimes I don't.
But we respect the other authors' voices. Not try to change it to suit what we see it should be.
We do point out flaws. If we didn't do that, there would be no point.
I don't want to be part of what I call a "seal group". What that means to me is a group who claps and whoops it up for anything presented.
Respect and a common goal to see everyone publish is what has made this group thrive when others flop.
So, if you're looking for a crit group, take your time and look for someone who respects your work...and whose you respect in turn.

14 comments:

  1. You do a great job of keeping the group running, too.

    Hope your back feels better.

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  2. I consider myself so lucky to have "landed" in a marvelous group of fellow writers who were at the same writing level as me, and now we're all being published together and helping one another foster careers.

    As an acquiring editor at Lyrical Press, I can tell you this: No matter how you find a critique group, DO find one. We can spot with 99% accuracy the submissions which have been through CPs and those which have not. And guess which ones get the big R?

    Yeup, you guessed it. Non-critted authors face the stereotype of being someone who isn't open to improving their work -- not something any editor wants to deal with. Not to mention, non-critted manuscripts are rife with errors and obvious easily-fixed plot holes.

    Do yourself and everybody a favor: If you're a new writer, find a group of several critique partners!

    :) There's my public service announcement for the day!

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  4. Hi, thanks, Liz.
    Couldn't have a group without great ppl, though!

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  5. Hi, Piper.
    Is that Morgan's crits?
    I came late to that party. Great gals there, though, like you!

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  6. D'Ann,
    Morgan's was awesome too! But we also had a smaller group of gals who assembled off RWC -- call ourselves HEART, because we are all romance writers, though we run from contemp sweet to erotic, to historical, with a bit of mystery and sci-fi thrown in.

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  7. totally agree, D! You have to have mutual respect and a mutual passion for writing - not just romance, but writing.

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  8. D'Ann -

    I'm fortunate to have found an eclectic band of CPs that all help bring something special to my writing. I think I would've been discouraged long ago if not for these women!

    Another incredibly exciting thing about having CPs is watching their writing get better and better, and thinking to yourself when you read their MS: "This is it! This is the one that's going to sell for her!"

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  9. Yes having good critique partners is a must. I do better with just one or two instead of a large group. If I get a bunch of advice all of it different I get confused. But if two or three suggest the same thing I can follow the train along the track.I use my former chapter president for looking at things and I have a one on one crit partner now.

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  10. Thanks for commenting, everyone!
    It's good to have a group you can count on!

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  11. D'Ann, you are the farthest thing from difficult! Insightful, yes, but never difficult. And I know we'll meet at an RWA convention someday - anyone besides me sign up for their room this week?

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  12. Unfortunately, speaking as the WWW member who tried to put a group together, it didn't work out.

    What do you do when you've been trying for years to find/create a good critique group and you just run into frustration after frustration?

    "Just keep trying" has become a phrase synonymous to "it didn't work, so you're going to try it some more?" for me on this subject.

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  13. Yep, D'Ann, respect is the key. Good CPs, like we have in our group, help each other improve without putting each other down. Constructive criticism delivered in a positive way is something all writers need. Thanks to everyone at CritiqueMe for doing just that! And as Liz said, you do a great job of keeping it running, D'Ann. Thanks for your hard work and encouragement.

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  14. D'Ann,
    You are so right about honest critiques. I would hate for someone to tell me something was perfect when it was horrible. I have had critiques partners who dropped me the moment I told them something didn't work. Having my writing honestly critiqued has made better and I can't thank you gals enough

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