Critique Group

I wanted to join a critique group, so I joined a critique group in March. We meet every other week. It’s a good sized group with seven regular attenders in the general fiction group, and six of us in the sci-fi group.

I thought, this is it, if I can prove my writing out here i’ll be good to go.

I’ve quickly learned that the group has valuable input and points out areas that need work. But, I don’t think I’ll ever satisfy all of them, and that is ok. They are not in the middle of the bell curve when it comes to readers. They are extreme readers. They’re writers. They know the rules, they have style preferences, etc.

Don’t get me wrong. I get great constructive criticism. But, I need to make sure to change essential “how” I write errors and make sure I don’t change the “why” I write, and to some degree, the “what” I write. I have to make sure I don’t become a politician-writer, where I’m just swayed by the opinions of others and have no real identity I can call my own.

It is a difficult balance that I have not yet learned.

But, I am getting back to writing, keeping their constructive criticism’s and guidance in mind, but not writing to please them.

What’s been your experience with critique groups?

Ty

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10 comments
  1. Ty, I agree with you. It’s funny how often people can give you opposite feedback in a group. But, it’s always nice to bounce your ideas off of others. It’s great that you stay true to yourself and to your style. Ultimately, it is you who knows what you want to do, and how you want your project to proceed. How is the book going, by the way?

    • tyroper said:

      Thanks. Great to hear from you again. Hope your poetry writing is going well and that you’ve won more contests!

      The book is going well. I finished the story late last fall and am in the process of editing and refining. I keep thinking that I am close to having a beta reader copy, but… Oh well, I just relax and enjoy the journey. Oh, and no more cannibal, btw. 😉 The girl is the main character now. She was taking over anyway.

      • Thanks, Ty! I would love to read the updated copy 🙂 I am working on my own novel as well these days. It’s a creative non-fiction account of my parents’ immigration to America. It’s great to stay in touch with you and read your blogposts.

        • tyroper said:

          That’s cool. A gal in my wife’s family wrote a memoir of my wife’s father’s mother. She was the first to immigrate to the US from the region near Prague. The book is: “Her Spirit Lives In Us: Immigrant Mother’s Legacy of Love” by Jimmie Lou Watson.

          Best wishes with your writing!

  2. Writers can be great critics, because they understand the battleground so well, on the other hand they have difficulty taking the onlooker or reader role. I recently gave my non-fiction draft to a poet, who came up with a brilliant way to give it some ‘air’, this involved turning a 90,000 word manuscript into beautiful gem of a manuscript (about 5000 words or less)… in effect a poem.

  3. Aloha Ty,
    “Am there – doing that.”
    I value every critique I can get. But I treasure those that deal with reader interest and reader aggravation. I must keep readers in the fictional dream.
    A Hui Hou (until next time),
    Wayne

  4. I am a member of a group and I never share a novel WIP. I write original stuff (short stories etc) for the group to consider. Early on, I shared a WIP and could not get a cogent evaluation that made sense.

  5. I only have a little critique group experience, but you really summed up how they work. You can only take so much input before wires start to cross since everyone has a different view on a story.

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