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How to Benefit the Most from Your Critique Group

How to Benefit the Most from Your Critique Group

Dear Readers,

It’s great to have a critique group, either in person or on-line. Here are ways to benefit the most from your critique group:

How a critique group can help you

1.      Another person can spot those spelling, punctuation, or grammar that you’ve read over 10 times and didn’t notice.

2.      If you want to know if a particular scene in your book is working, the members in your critique group can give you their opinions.

3.      The people in your critique group can teach you, inspire you, encourage you, and tell you the Blue Ribbon parts of your manuscript, query letter, cover letter, proposal, synopsis, summary, or whatever you ask them to check specifically for you.

Things to remember before your work is critiqued

1.      Give the critiquers the right to like or dislike your work. Accept that it’s okay if they don’t like it. Accept that it’s okay if they do like it. Be ready to ask them to suggest a way they believe would be better.

2.      Be open to change. Change creates a path to a stronger and better manuscript. Decide which parts of your manuscript are non-negotiable and which parts are negotiable.

3.      Put your best foot forward. Use the Spelling, Grammar check in your software to check it before you share it with others.

Questions to ask your critiquer

1.      Ask a critiquer to retell your story for you (James N. Frey’s suggestion from How to Write a Damn Good Novel.) Through listening you’ll discover the strong parts and weak parts. Ask them to tell it in three sentences, beginning, middle, and end.

2.      Which parts, if any, confused you?

3.      Is my dialogue believable? Is it tagged appropriately?

Things to remember after your work has been critiqued.

1.      One person’s opinion doesn’t mean it is the truth. It does not mean what they say is a fact. It is not their opinion about you personally. It is about your writing. Keep the two things separate in your mind.

2.      Don’t change anything you don’t agree with 100 per cent.

3.      Let your manuscript and the critique comments rest in a drawer for at least a week before you do anything with it. Give time for the ideas to take root in your brain and jog around in your imagination.

Three Critique Group Resources

Guidelines for Group Critiques of Fiction by Jennifer Evans  http://www.slugtribe.org/etiquette.html

Guide for Critique Groups & Individual Critiques by Ellen Dodson http://www.scbwior.com/links/CritGroup.html

Fundamentals of Fiction, Part III: Critique Groups and Writers’ Groups by Marg Gilks http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/fiction03.shtml

Thank you for reading my blog.

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I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to share a link to my blog with others.

Never Give Up!

Take Action toward Your Goal!
Joan Y. Edwards




Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards.


8 Responses

  1. Very good information. Thank you.


    • Dear Vivian,
      Thank you for stopping by. I’m glad that you thought this was very good information. Do something good for you today.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  2. nice post,Joan. I’m going to recommend it in my writing class. Carol


  3. This is an excellent article. I don’t know how I would survive without my critique groups. I feel this item, “Let your manuscript and the critique comments rest in a drawer for at least a week before you do anything with it” is very important. Sometimes we can be so eager to get done with a manuscript that we start making changes right away without knowing how we truly feel about them.

    Thanks for sharing your tips.



    • Dear Cheryl,
      Thanks for coming by for a visit. I’m honored that you believe this is an excellent article. Critique Groups can be a major help in getting your manuscripts ready for publication. I’m glad that you think letting your manuscript and critiques rest in a drawer for at least a week before doing anything with it is a good idea. Yes, doing that will help your emotions calm down and give you a chance to think clearly.
      Do something good for you.
      Never Give Up
      Joan Y. Edwards


  4. Hi Joan,

    This was very enpowering for the author and critiquer. I especially liked the reference to Blue Ribbon parts. Clever description. Thanks for sharing such great tips and putting it all in a neat package. I’d like to reach out and wrap your post with a blue ribbon.

    Linda A.


    • Dear Linda, Thanks for dropping in for a visit. I’m glad that you believe my blog article was very empowering for the author and the critiquer. I’m excited that you like the Blue Ribbon parts. You’re welcome. It was my pleasure to share my ideas. Do something good for you.

      Have a Flip Flap Floodle Day!

      Joan Y. Edwards, Author/Illustrator Flip Flap Floodle http://www.joanyedwards.com/FlipFlapFloodle.htm Flip at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Flip-Flap-Floodle-Joan-Edwards/dp/1594572852/ Never Give Up Blog http://www.joanyedwards.wordpress.com Elder Care Guide http://www.joanseldercareguide.weebly.com


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