View Full Version : Writing groups

05-23-2005, 09:04 PM
We don't have any writing groups where I live, and I have serious doubts many places in Kansas have writing organizations as well... I see a lot of people talking about how they went to their writing group and did this or that, and it sounds like I'm missing out on a ton of fun :(

Anyone here a member of a writing group, if so, what are they called? Do they specialize in a certain genre?

Also, if anyone knows of any good writing groups you can join online let me know.

05-26-2005, 09:39 PM
If you'll take a look at Coffee Break's Writing Partners board here at Absolute Write, you may find exactly what you're looking for. If I were seeking a critique group online, there's at least one I'd try out--and who says you have to stop at one? I've also heard people speak highly of Critters (http://www.critique.org/).

I've been a member of three critique groups, two online and one face-to-face. Neither of the online groups helped me. Both included people who were unable to accept critique and/or instruction from others--they only wanted to hear praise and maybe have two typos pointed out. Their reactions to honest yet tactful critique tended to be defensive and resentful, and when those writers critiqued, their negatives were as much about the writer as the manuscript. As you might expect, both groups imploded, one rather violently with lots of hard or hurt feelings.

Of course, there must be working critique groups online where everyone behaves like an adult--but given my experience, I wouldn't count on it.

Online groups (and one-on-one online critique) present physical challenges in that it's much harder to mark corrections, comments, and questions on a manuscript in cyberspace than on paper. Re-arranging words/sentences/paragraphs is just about impossible. The number of steps involved in inserting a missing hyphen or apostrophe and making it bold or in color so the author sees it is fairly daunting. Overall critique ("The story lacked a clear setting any time Katie left her office." or "The real estate deal may be important for the plot, but it's not terribly interesting. Shorten it and/or give it in smaller amounts over the whole chapter.") is no harder.

Because of my own experience, I now believe the ideal group will have people of similar skill levels who write in a single genre (or in closely related genres, like mystery and suspense). Although good writing is good writing, often only another romance (or western, poetry, biography, etc.) writer understands what the author must do to produce a saleable manuscript. At a minimum, everyone in a critique group ought to read in the genre of the manuscript they're critiquing.

Of course, that's just what I'd want. What you want is what matters. Let us know how your search for useful critique is going.