OPENForum-Pen-and-Paper-Killer-Productivity-Apps-HPCritique Groups – Should you bother finding or creating one?

I’m a big proponent of critique groups, that is one thing you should know before I continue this post. I’m currently in the position of not having one and finding that challenging. There are pros and cons to both being involved and not being involved in critique groups and people either fall into one category or the other, or as in my case have to deal with one by necessity.

Not being in a critique group pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Feel free to experiment without criticism How do you know your experiment is working if you don’t show it to someone?
Write what you like when you like You must be very disciplined to achieve all your writing deadlines and finish your story
You can be your own boss One person can’t think of all solutions to story problems
You can be as imperfect as you want in the first draft without fear of criticism Sometimes you can become so close to your own work that you’re blind to its flaws
You can write your 2nd, 3rd, & Nth draft to your hearts content without fear of criticism, until you think your story is perfect If you look too long for perfection no one may ever read/see your stories
You can take as long as you want to write your stories

Being in a critique group pros and cons:

Pros

Cons

Helping someone else with their writing can help you with your own If you’re not careful you may spend more time on someone else’s work than your own
Helping someone else with their storytelling can help you with your own Another person’s ideas may be interesting but you have to make sure that they’re still true to your own idea for your story
Good critique partners can keep you writing and help keep you on task Some people have their own ideas of how things should be done, don’t fall into the trap of doing someone else’s process, you must do your own
Good critique partners will make you accountable for your own work If you plan on critiquing a whole novel, it may take longer than you expect, be patient
A second pair of eyes is always good to catch mistakes you’ve missed
Another person can help you brainstorm ideas for your story
Another person can often direct your brain in directions you’ve never considered before

To be honest, in my opinion, ultimately every groups-helpwriter who is published has a critique group, even if that group is a couple of people who live on different sides of the world. When most people think of critique groups they think of a table full of writers sharing each other’s work or a group of people lounging in someone’s living room. I’ve been part of critique groups of various sizes ranging from 15 to 2 and have found each type a valuable learning experience. But once you open your mind to the fact that you only need two people to create a critique group – you and your partner, you can underhand why I say that every writer has a critique group. The partner doesn’t have to be a writer either, though sometimes it’s helpful if they are. Handing the story over to your spouse or best friend and asking for opinions is enacting the purpose of a critique group, though I must admit most of the time they are not handing you a story in return. Handing the story over to an editor is a more official version of this same process. So you’re only getting one-way feedback, but at least you’re getting it.

Pin It on Pinterest

%d bloggers like this: