My first writer’s critique group was a rewarding experience. There were ten in attendance, which included several first-timers. As a newbie, I was able to share my journey and participate in the discussion, but I could only be an observer in the critiquing process. Wisely, they want to make sure that newcomers are serious about the group first—both in terms of attendance and in paying the annual membership dues—before they can offer or receive feedback.
The attendees covered a full range of experience from those who had books published to those who were merely considering becoming a writer. It was also quite balanced between men and women, although not as diverse in age. Still there was a wide degree of perspectives.
Four people had work to share, though we only got to two. As I recall there were five or six who could offer feedback. Their opinions were fair and balanced, both affirming when appropriate and critical when warranted. Each person had valuable input. Though no one person had a singularly complete critique, compositely I think everything was covered.
The two guys who had their work scrutinized did their best to receive it well, but there were subtle indications that this was at times a struggle. I wonder how I would have done in their place—probably not as well.
I will continue attending this group, at least for the time being, but given that it is an hour away (in good weather), it makes for a rather long evening. It would be great if I could find (or start) a group locally. That is my hope.
Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!