June 15, 2016

Great Writing Critique Groups

Some of our members at an after-meeting meal.
What traits does a great writing critique group possess?

The other night after our writing group met, several of us talked about why we like our group.  We have a fantastic bunch of writers who give useful feedback while maintaining the writer's self-esteem.

Several of our members have attended other writing groups, and their comments on the critiquing approach, or lack thereof, made me cringe.

Many groups, it turns out, give little feedback beyond:  "I love this!"

I'm sorry, but "I love this" doesn't help the writer progress in their craft. I can get that from my friends and family.  I'm pretty sure I would be unpopular if I showed up at any of these other "critique" groups. When I attend a critique group, I need to hear how to make my writing better.

What Does a Good Critique Include?

Before you decide to block me from your meeting let me share some of the points we discuss in our group.

Side note:  We have several published, award-winning authors in our group.  They still expect constructive feedback on their writing.

When we examine a fellow member's writing, some of the typical feedback might include:
  • Plot problems
  • Flow problems
  • Repeated words
  • Point of view shifts
  • Time line issues
  • Scene blocking
  • Scene setting 
  • Overuse of Adverbs
  • Passive verbs
  • Missing information
  • Confusing information
  • Inaccurate information
  • Typos and grammar
This list offers just a few of the points we cover, but it gives you an idea of aspects to identify when critiquing someone else's work. If you belong to a group that prefers to give a pat on the back, now might be the time to shake things up...or look for a different group.

Upcoming Blog Series

Over the next few weeks, I will break down these points in separate blogs.  I know I've missed a few, so please go to the comments section and help me out.

What makes your writing group's critiques great?

2 comments:

i Tervo said...

You've done a great job summarizing some important key points to a solid critique. Looking forward to hearing more about this.

Torie Amarie Dale said...

Good post. And I love the picture. Such a great great group.