Critique Groups

After many query rejections and some positive feedback, I’ve just finished my latest revision of the story I ‘finished’ (ha, ha, ha) in August. There’s no doubt I’ve revised this thing at least ten times, and have edited it to death, edited in fact from 113,000 words down to 72,000. I can do no more, and I think it is finally time for a critique partner, or group.

Do all of you have them? I fear commitments like this, which is why I haven’t sought anyone out before. But I think I need it, and I don’t want to ask hubby to read it again, even though he is brutally honest.

Anyway, if you have a second, please let me know how you went about this process, and whether you and your critique partners do a line-by-line edit, or a global, big picture view.  Also, do you all write the same genre? Any feedback would be awesome!  Thanks!

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13 thoughts on “Critique Groups

  1. Give Verla’s a try, there’s always someone looking to swap and critique. I found it helpful to post for a first chapter exchange because I got 5 responses. From those, I could tell immediately who would be a good match for continued critiquing.

  2. Thanks, Karen:) I might be up for that-a one-time swap to get my feet wet, you know? I tried looking on SCBWI, my local chapter, but couldn’t find any links, it said I had to email this lady.

  3. Hi Shannon, I have 2 critique groups. I’m in the MG online crit group with Lyon up above in your comments ((waves)). I found that group through a posting she put up on the Blueboards. My other critique group is an in-person group that I found from the SCBWI discussion boards. The in-person group is not genre-specific and we have critiqued each other’s picture books, nonfiction articles, MG novels, and YA novels. Two of us usually write contemporary while the other three write historical fiction. In that group, we meet once a month (but we email our 3,000 word submission a week ahead of time) and go around the room discussing our critique of it then hand over the marked-up version.

    It’s tougher to find someone who wants to critique your entire MS at once. I did find one critique partner on Verla’s who is willing to trade manuscripts. I found her by posting a call to trade first chapters of MG novels. After we exchanged first chapters, she offered to read the whole thing when it was finished and I returned the favor. Good luck!

  4. Sounds like a great group you have. I thought I’d just post on Verla’s, but wanted to see what others have done. Think I’ll try the critique circle website and then Verla’s. Thanks!

  5. My current crit group is made up of two ladies who are good friends — both of whom I’ve known for years. One was my first writing friend (and we know each other in person, although she’s since moved to another state); the other was my second writing friend (and we’ve never met). Once the three of us started working together, we added a couple of other ladies — both of whom we met through Verla’s (I think…it’s been a while).

    I love this group! Each of us has a different strength, so when I get my chapters back from them (we sub 10-12 pages, three times a month), I receive four unique perspectives — and between those, they catch everything. We all write YA, with one mostly contemporary, one focusing more on historical, and three of us dabbling in more fantasy/paranormal type stories.

  6. My crit group is on-line and we focus on MG novels. (There is currently one opening if you are interested.)

    We crit how ever we feel comfortable — line by line or global– or a bit of both. Crits are based on a chapter or so (about 2500 words) so as not to be overwhelmed. One person submits his/her chapter a week and the crits are due by the end of the week. After everyone has had a turn at submitting we “meet” in a chat room to socialize.

    This has been the first crit group I have joined that I feel I am actually getting something out of. And I will never submit another manuscript without having more eyes looking at it than mine and my family’s. 😀

  7. I’m in an online crit group that was set up for children’s writers only (by a group that is now defunct–but my crit group continues, luckily). We do a few chapters at a time, with everyone subbing once a month. But sometimes I need a whole book crit, and in those cases I usually post a short summary of it on my blog and ask if anyone to do a crit in exchange for one. It’s worked out pretty well so far, and is a one-time sort of commitment. Not everyone writes a book or two a year, so I almost think full mss crits have to be on a one-by-one basis.

    I find there are good things about both critiquers who write my genre, and those who don’t. It’s nice to get a variety of backgrounds and yet see that they all tend to converge on things that really need addressing.

    Oh, and usually my regular crit group focuses on line edits, so the full mss crits are more to examine the large-scale issues (characters, plot, pacing, structure, etc.)

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