The weather forecast is saying there’s a chance of rain later today and through the weekend. Because of this, I have men on my roof working madly to get the shingles on. I’m wishing hubby were home right now to deal with it, but he’s out working to earn money to pay for the roof. I’ve been trying to work on revisions, but the banging is aggravating, and I can’t concentrate.
I’m even having trouble concentrating enough to blog.
Anyway, I’ve been wondering what makes a good critique group. I’ve belonged to a few over the years, but for some reason, they never seem to work out for me. Lately it’s been a time issue, but with school winding down, I’m thinking there might be more time in the near future and I’d really like to find a group that works for me.
But what works for me? I’ve enjoyed the critique groups I’ve been in, but I’m not sure I’ve found the right fit. Most of the groups had six or more members. I’ve come to realize six or more is too much for me. I end up spending more time critiquing than I do writing.
This tells me I’m the type of person who needs a small group maybe limited to four at the most, but three might be ideal.
Another problem is the level of writing. I’m not saying I have a problem helping others with their writing, because I don’t. I love critiquing other people’s work, but I don’t like having to hold someone’s hand and “teach” them how to write. I want a group of writers who know the basics and are well on their way to publication.
This tells me I need other writers at or above my own level of writing (not that I’m perfect by any means).
I also prefer novels to short stories or magazine pieces. I’m game for an occasional PB manuscript, but I guess I’m a short MS snob. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading them or even writing them, just not critiquing them.
This tells me I need a group of writers who focus mostly on novels with occasional PB manuscripts.
I write and read mostly fantasy/paranormal/mystery/fairytale novels so I’d need other writers who are into the same genres. I also read other genres and enjoy them, but they aren’t my “specialty.”
I’m pretty picky and not afraid to tell someone if I don’t like something. Let’s be honest. How can our writing ever improve if all we ever hear is how wonderful it is? It’s not wonderful or it would already be published. It’s okay to point out the good things, but the critique should focus on what to improve.
This tells me I need writers who are able to give tough love and aren’t afraid to take it in return.
I guess I want a critique group that is sort of like the agent/author relationship. One that is there for the duration. Good times, bad times . . . the whole career and not the one book deal.
This tells me I need a group that will last.
When it’s all added up, I need a group of writers who:
Are accepting new members
Like small groups
Know the basics and are well on their way down the publication path (or already published)
Write mostly novels with occasional PBs
Write and read the same genres I do
Can give and take an honest critique
Will stick together
Where can I find such a group? Most groups are already established and aren’t accepting new members. Those who are accepting members are too large. I’ve advertised on Verla Kay and the SCBWI boards and tried starting my own group in the past, but it fell through and the members drifted away (too many members and not enough commitment). I do have some wonderful friends who occasionally look at my work and I look at theirs, but I need a consistent group that won’t fall apart.
Am I living in a fantasy world or can this kind of critique group actually exist? Okay, I know it can exist, but as I said before, it’s members have been together for years and they aren’t seeking new members. (why is it that I keep spelling members as “memebers” today?)
Is there anyone out there who knows of a group that fits the above criteria?
Is there anyone out there who would like to start/be a part of such a group?
So, people are banging on my roof, and I can’t find a critique group. That’s my life today.