Do You Need A Critique Group & How To Find The Right One

Seek the advice and suggestions of others. When you write you believe that your work is great, easy to understand and makes sense to others. You are proud of your chapter. You are sure that you are getting your point across. I can assure you that not everyone reads your writing the way that you want them too. Not everyone feels emotion when you want them to feel emotion. Your story is yours; it makes sense to you. It may not make sense to everyone else.

You must not only find a critique group but the right one. Each critique group uses a different format. For instance, some groups email the pages in advance, and others bring printed sheets to review during that session. Because in writing many genres exist, you will also find a wide variety of people in these groups.

At first, when I was seeking a group I focused my energy looking for writers in the same genre. I quickly realized that it is much more important to find writers that are going to provide constructive comments/feedback that is helpful. The goal is to improve your writing not hear that it is great. Although, hearing and seeing a comment that says, “Great description,” is always appreciated. Two of the comments I received at my first critique taught me a lot. The first was, “Purple.” Yes, I did have to investigate that comment further. I found that the term’s called, “Purple Prose,” and means that I am overwriting. Yep, I was. I was trying desperately to prove that I was a good writer and overdoing it.

The second comment that I didn’t understand was the word, “stilted.” This comment was written on the side of my page with lines surround a group of dialog. After further investigation, I learned that this meant my dialog was unnaturally formal or stiff, not realistic. I was able to change both issues quickly, and the changes not only helped that particular chapter but all of my chapters. Someone suggested reading the paragraph out loud until the dialog sounded more natural. Without a good critique group, I would not have that feedback.

So how do you find a critique group? An excellent way to find a group is to join your local writers’ association. You can also download the app Meetup or go to the Meetup website and plug in the word writing in the search box. Check out more than one group. I had gone to four different groups before I found a good fit.

The best advice I can give is to have an open mind. You don’t need to listen to every suggestion. But if three people make the same comment, I would strongly recommend looking at that advice closely. Observations and ideas are only good; they will help you become a better writer.