Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Love.... er critique groups.... are in the air!

First, welcome to my newest blog followers!

Lady Glamis
Suzanne
Robin Prater

Y'all rock!

*********

Everywhere I turn, I see the "C" word.

Critique groups! I'm not sure what the reason for this, but it may be partially due to the ACFW's redesign of their critique group model. If you weren't aware, instead of assigning those who request to a group, they are now using a "large" group model. Everyone is allowed to submit up to two chapters per week, but they must critique two submissions for every one they submit.

This allows for individuals to create bonds themselves and break off into smaller groups as personalities jive and click.

For the record, I think this is a smashing idea and hope it works out well! I've signed up and am interested in getting the feedback and seeing how it goes.

The other reason for this current craze is probably the fact that two major writing contests just released the results of the contest, and everyone is eager to have help in figuring out where to go next!

So, let's talk about critique groups since everyone else seems to be doing so! (call me a conformist if you will!)

Here are some benefits I see of them:
* getting different perspectives on your manuscript
* being held accountable
* Creating bonds with other writers
* A group to ask your "dumb" questions to without judgement

And some... not really drawbacks, but potential pitfalls if you will:
* Being led down a wrong path... critique group members can be wrong too!
* Losing your voice (not a personal worry of mine, but I've seen it happen to others)
* Stealing ideas (again, not something I worry about, and TOTALLY unethical)
* The time investment

Discussion: What benefits/drawbacks do YOU see of critique groups? Do you prefer a "partner" relationship or a "group"? If you are in one, how's it working out for you?

6 comments:

Jody Hedlund said...

That new idea totally overwhelms me! I think there are wonderful benefits from a crit group, but at this stage in my life, I just don't have the ability to do the give and take for a group. That's why I decided to go with an editor. And I do have a crit partner--but I've sorely neglected her over the past few weeks because of the rush to get both my books ready for Rachelle. Maybe down the road, I'll have more time for a crit group. But I would rather have a closer group of people that I know and trust.

Marybeth Poppins said...

Many of your listed pitfalls are huge reasons why I haven't joined a crit group. I just don't think I would know whose advice to follow and whose not to. That would be way too much for me. I have a horrible habit of feeling like I need to take EVERYONE's advice and I don't think that would work out too well!

Wendy said...

I just joined a crit. group and was very pleased with my first review of a short story yesterday. I love people who push me to think and become better...that is what I've been experiencing!
~ Wendy

Terri Tiffany said...

I just joined a small group and love love the ideas I'm getting! It is neat to see two or three others confirm what you think you need to change but didn't.
Bad about it? I hope I retain my own voice now that I think I've found it!

Lady Glamis said...

Thanks for the welcome! I do enjoy your blog very much!

I belong to a critique online. If you're interested in some great information about critique groups, stop by The Literary Lab (there's a link on my blog) and do a search for critique groups. I'm working on getting a list up on the sidebar. That would be helpful! Davin did the post awhile ago. Very helpful. :)

Krista Phillips said...

Jody, I think that's the sign of a good group/partner, when you can be mindful of each other's schedules.

Marybeth, it does take a lot of consideration when you get feedback, but I'd STRONGLY encourage you to not let that stand in the way. Another option too is to go the route Jody did and hire an editor. There are plusses and minuses either way though, I'm sure.

Wendy, SO glad you're having a good experience! WOOHOO for you!!!

Terri, kudos for finding a good group! You are right, validation is a HUGE reason to join as well!

Lady Glamis, thanks for the suggestion! I'll definately check it out!