Wednesday, 22 August 2007

In Search of a Critique Group

I keep being told that I should join a critique group. I know of several, but they all hold their meetings hundreds of miles away from where I live. So that leaves me with the task of starting my own. I have done some asking around, but so far have not found anyone who is interested.

So I am asking for a little help. I need some ideas of how to get the writers who hide behind closed doors to come out of the shadows and be willing join me in this newest venture. How do I go about finding the writers who have some experience or talent, so we can all build each other up? If anyone has any ideas, please share them with me. Hopefully, with your help, I can work on forming a group as active and productive as some of the others I have heard of.


Shanna Blythe said...


You have to talk about being a writer. Whenever you meet someone new try to introduce the topic and see where their interest lies.

Also, remember that they don't have to have a lot of experience. I have a friend who was talking to me one night about all these ideas she had. I asked her why she wasn't writing and she said she had no idea. Now she has a book going that has such a fantastic story and what she has written is good. Although she didn't have much experience she was a huge reader and she has contributed a ton to my little group.

The more you talk about reading and writing the more they pop out of the woodwork. For me, when I started I found Wendy almost immediately (through telling her what I was doing) and then a while later came Alison then Tina. Now I have another huge group, partly from LDStorymakers, but the thing is you don't even have to live in that big of a place. Tooele isn't huge by any means yet we have nine members in our group with a couple more who are 'interested'.

Writers are everywhere. You'll find them. In the meantime you can go online and find online critique groups.

Stephanie Humphreys said...

I guess what I mean by experience, is that I have been told to be careful of people who say they are going to write, but don't and people who say they write all the time, but don't give good advice because they don't understand good writing. If I find people who give more bad advice than good, will my writing suffer and will the group be a bad use of my time? I don't think I am explaining this very well. I would like to find a group of people who are all interested in pursuing publication so we can encourage each other.

Karlene said...

Decide what YOU want in a group and write up some guidelines. Then talk about it to others, post a flyer in the library. I tried to post a couple of links here, but it wouldn't accept them. But you can just Google "Critique Group Guidelines" and find gobs of info.

Aneeka said...

I've been in a number of writing/critiquing groups and the way I mainly found them (or founded them) was by the way Shanna said: I let everyone know that I was a writer and then formed a group with those that wrote as well.

I'll admit, the first group I formed wasn't ideal. We became good friends, but we didn't help each other much in the writing area other than forcing us all to write every other week.

It was a learning experience for me, though. I learned what type of critiques did not work for me and I learned that not everyone could give a good critique. My next group I formed was much better and we're still a group even after 4 years and we've moved to different places (we critique via online now).

So, my advice is to not be afraid to move from critique group to a critique group. Ask around and form one and if it's not to your liking, form another one and then see if you can merge the best of both group into one group. :)

Good luck!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for all the advice. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Annette Lyon said...

Best of luck finding a great group! Mine started out by one woman picking up the League of Utah Writers directory and calling writers in her area. Almost eight years laters, with a few different members along the way, but we're still together--and everyone is published. They're the single best thing I ever did for my writing.

Mandi said...

Hey Stephanie - you know I am always up for joining in with you for a critique group, so add one to the count!

Stephanie Humphreys said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Annette.

Amanda, I'll give you a call when school routines get set and other family things settle down a bit. You know I'd love to have you be part of the group.

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