Critique Groups - Your Take

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I went to SARA last night for the first time in six months. We were voting for the new board and to pass the new bylaws, so I braved the horrible traffic (which actually wasn't too bad last night). Anyway, we didn't have a speaker, so we went around the room talking about what we wrote, what inspired us and what we'd learned in our writing.

A huge percent of them said they'd learned so much from critique. We have two groups, a lot, I think for an organization our size. I've participated, usually with just the beginning of my story, though BD has been through my smaller group almost in its entirety (that story is still kicking my butt - I need 20000 more words to make it ST!!!) Several of these ladies send their whole books through.

Then I started thinking - none of my contracted books have been to critique at all. Hot Shot and Smoke were in contests, and while I revised HS a lot because of that, Smoke is very nearly identical to the way I wrote it. Yes, HS went through revisions with editors and agents, but never went to critique. Trish read Wayback, but she's the only one. Even the cp who's also writing a Wayback hasn't seen it. Yet it got contracted.

So what's your take on critique groups?

Today: take ds to get earbuds, hopefully a haircut, clean living room, work on BD and read Trish's chapters



Gina Black said...

I have a critique partner. We also brainstorm. I adore her.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I think an author's need for critique continually evolves and changes over the lifetime of her career.

MJFredrick said...

I do like the brainstorming, though usually they can't come up with something to go along with what I have in my mind. Still, they spark something in me.

And I like making sure my story is going in the right direction.

Natalie, I think you're right, but I didn't do critique till the past three years...maybe my path would have been shorter?

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Not necessarily, Mary. Maybe different, but "shorter" is affected by lots of outside things as well as the critique element. I was writing for six years before I sold to a small press, and while getting critiques may be responsible for how little editing I've gotten for my books so far, it's not helping me sell to NY! :)

MJFredrick said...

Good point, Natalie. Sigh. Yep, I got a rejection from Avon in less than 24 hours...what does it TAKE????

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I wish I knew, Mary, I wish I knew.


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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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