Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Writing Critique Groups

For the last month or so, I have been participating within a writing critique group and I have to say that it has added a much needed dimension to my creative writing experience. The group grew out of the shared experience of doing the Poem-A-Day Challenge on Robert Lee Brewer’s blog Poetic Asides. One of the ladies that also participated in that challenge sent messages to two of us other ladies and asked us if we would be interested in forming a group. And just recently we added our fourth member. Our group consists of women who live in three different countries, some who have children at home, some who have grown children and all of whom have a tremendous passion for writing.

If you are a writer and you would like to add a new dimension of understanding as to how your potential readers will view your work, then I highly recommend joining a similar group. Whether you meet with local friends every week or get together with some regional folks once a month or do as I do and “meet” online, your writing will benefit greatly from the insight of trusted and talented people. Not only has this group helped me perfect my work based on the other member comments, it has given me insight in to how others write as well as inspired me to write different types of things than I have ever written before.

Here is how our group is set up. We have decided that we will keep our group small. We currently have four members and I don’t believe that we will be adding any new members any time soon. Each member has a certain week that they submit some piece of written material – in our group, it can be any written work: poetry, short story, part of a novel, an essay, even query letters if someone is needing help with the correct wording. That person submits their work on Sunday, then the other members of the group critique within a few days and send comments back to the author. At that point, the author reviews the group comments, makes revisions based on what they feel does or doesn’t make sense from the comments and sends revisions back to the group for another round of comments. Next week is another member’s turn and we begin the process again.