What I’m Looking For in a Critique Group

Writing is a solitary effort, a task pursued in private. Yet the result is public.

Bridging that gap, between originator and audience, sits the critique group. A properly functioning assemblage will help members distinguish between their junk and their jewels, serving to keep the drivel under wraps, while propelling the exceptional to greater heights.

While I comprehend the immense value of being in a writing community, alas, I am not. Although some groups function well in cyberspace, my desire is for a gathering that meets face-to-face. Perhaps because most of my day job is done at a distance, I don’t want yet another task that must be accomplished in absentia. My desire for presence dictates a group of local writers, the existence of whom I am yet to identify.

Here’s what I wish my critique group to be:

  • We all need to be active writers; no wanna-be, gonna-do wordsmiths need apply.
  • We need to be at a comparable level, though those more advanced in the craft will be a welcome bonus.
  • We will meet on a regular basis, monthly seems ideal.
  • Each will submit a sample of his or her work in advance.
  • Each will review all submissions, ready to provide feedback at the meeting.
  • Honesty is the expectation, but presented tactfully. Our mantra will be to speak the truth in love.
  • False praise will be prohibited, while ruthless disparagement will be verboten.
  • The intent is to help each member improve their work, but not do it for them.

Is this a realistic expectation or an idealism never to be realized? Look for future updates here. Until then, write well.

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!

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