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Critique groups

28. June 2006

Finding a good critique partner is like striking gold. the right mixture of feedback, encouragement and corrections can get you to soar to new heights.
But getting a partner that doesn’t push you further isn’t going to solve your problems.

I haven’t stuck with a crit group for a long time. I’m in my second now, and I’m reaching a point where I wonder how much longer it is useful for me to be with them.
The problem (for me) with my last group was that I felt we were of different standards in our writing and writing commitment. Also, it was face-to-face, and I just don’t have the attention span to remember everything that people tell me about my writing and then be able to implement it afterwards. Plus, having to crit 2-3 chapters each week just wasn’t possible with my time constraints.

My current crit group is online, and I’ve enjoyed my time there. But lately, the feedback has been more pats on the back than anything else. And because I have a very strong sense of “This is no good” (as evidenced by mediocre contest lacings etc), I’d rather they tore into it a bit more. I feel mean critiquing their stuff to the level I would love, because from their crits of my work, I feel that’s not what they want in return. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s fragile ego or shoot way over the mark, but I also feel that I’m giving more than I’m getting. Which is quite probably my ego speaking, too.

I’m not sure what the best course of action is. There are some members in the crit group whose feedback is useful to me, who don’t try to tweak my voice to their tastes, and who can give both broad stroke and minute detail feedback. others, I hope they skip my chapters.

Do any of you work with critique groups or partners? How is it working for you? What sort of feedback do you want from a critiquer, and how detailed instructions do you give them?

One Comment leave one →
  1. JENNA permalink
    2. July 2006 9:17 pm

    You have to date around before you commit to a CP. I’ve been very lucky to find someone who genuinely does not get her feelings hurt. I think that’s what happens when crit relationships fizzzle, they love you and so stop being impartial. We look at each book fresh and have a few things we search out — each book has a too often repeated word of phrase. When we crit eachother we search and destroy that. Also, we’ll target the kind of feedback we need – this one’s motivation doesn’t seem right, how are my verbs, what is your take on the setting….that kind of thing

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