View Full Version : An idea about a critique circle.

06-11-2012, 03:12 AM
I don't know if anyone bring this up or not, so I just ask anyway. I already finished my first book and need help from beta-readers and I believe many people think the same. I have some betas working with me right now but I still think it isn't enough. I want to get more feedback and from more people because each person give me a different insight into the story.

So far my solution is that I joint 2 writing groups in my city and they help me tremendously. Basically, we meet every other week, exchange works and critique each other.

So what's the problem? Within that small time frame (2-3 hours), we can only critique a small portion of each manuscript, usually 6-7 pages, double spaces, 12. First, it is incredibly slow for a person who has more than 80k words novel and set a goal to finish editing it in the summer. Second, because we only see a small part, it's hard to spot big plot hole throughout the whole book.

So I'm thinking what if we do the same online? Every week we exchange a chapter to each other, provide critique, send it back to the author at the end of the week and continue on. The critique doesn't need to be in-depth, just tell the author what you think it need to be improve and what you like. With that we can go much faster.

any comment or suggestion? Feel free to PM me or reply here.

06-11-2012, 03:21 AM
It sounds like an interesting idea. I'm wondering how many people would be a part of it? Would you only edit a partner or everybody's manuscript?
Because, if only a few it would be similar to have a writing buddy, where you exchange things often and whatever else you chose to do in that relationship.

06-11-2012, 03:45 AM
I'm thinking about that too. If it's just 2-3 people it's like writing buddy

but, if it's 10 people, just imagine you have to read 9 chapters a week and provide critique to each of them, I don't have that much time and I don't expect anyone to do that.

so I'm thinking to keep the group size about 5-6 people exchanging at a time and the critique doesn't need to be line by line. It can be in portions of that chapter, mainly about what's irking, sticking out like an eye sore and general feeling toward that chapter.

06-11-2012, 04:32 AM
I'd be interested in this (I'm fairly new to the boards, so feel free to be like like, "Um, no, go away." ;] )... are you interested in everyone being of a similar genre or..?

06-11-2012, 04:41 AM
I would be interested in giving this a try. I don't have time to join a local critique group, so an online one will be great. Small group size is good. If it goes well and more people join we can split into two groups.

Nick Rolynd
06-11-2012, 08:29 AM
Well, I don't have anything complete right now for critiquing, but I would be willing to join a long-standing group of critique buddies. Especially since it's summer, and I have nothing to but write, watch TV, and read. I wouldn't mind critting a few pieces every week. =)

06-11-2012, 01:18 PM
I'd be willing to join too.

06-11-2012, 01:51 PM
This is not a new idea, Yukinara.

If it works, great, but I suspect most of these ideas for setting up groups to critique faster and in more depth fizzle out as folk realise it takes real commitment, experience and a lot of time to make this sort of thing work. You're already aware that time restrictions will limit numbers.

Speed isn't the answer to everything.

Critting the work of others is as good a way as any of learning to spot flaws in your own work, and doing it here in SYW means you also get the benefit of seeing the feedback of others and comparing it to your own.

There are critique circles already in existence here and also -if you search this Forum I believe the same thing as you are suggesting was initiated months ago by someone else although I've no idea how it is faring.

Having said that, I see folk are expressing interest so I hope it pans out for all of you and I wish you good luck.

Let us know in six months how things have gone - what you learn from the experience might help others who may be thinking the same thing.

06-12-2012, 03:30 AM
-if you search this Forum I believe the same thing as you are suggesting was initiated months ago by someone else although I've no idea how it is faring.

I was part of one of those (I didn't initiate or nothin'). It quickly became evident that most of us read/critted at wildly different speeds or had different amounts of material to submit for critique, etc. So, it went well at first, but sort of fell apart over time. However, a few of us who went mostly the same speed sort of matched up with each other outside the group and beta'd for each other, and that went extremely well. :D Best betas evah.

So, I dunno. The original idea didn't *quite* work out, but good things definitely came out of it. Not sure if that was all by chance though or what.

I survived
06-12-2012, 03:53 AM
Don't know if I should advertise another site here or not but I get some of my best crits from Scribophile where it is almost all critting. you might want to look there.

06-12-2012, 02:51 PM
I was part of one of those (I didn't initiate or nothin').

I was going to come out from my usual lurker corner to comment on this, but you beat me to it. I (sort of) played a part in initiating. Someone else posted the initial idea, but so many people responded, and he was trying to limit the number of people, so I helped organize a second group.

Anyway, I can't offer a terrible fresh perspective, as my tale is the same (group fell apart; I was one of the ones that matched up outside and kept exchanging work). Personally, though, in my reflection, I lean towards the idea that being able to match up outside of the group was a stroke of luck. Really, really awesome luck, because you guys were awesome. :D

But while things worked out for 3 of us in the group...there were, what, 8 originally? I really have no idea what the rest of them thought. I suppose it's possible some of them were satisfied with what they did get out of the group. I sort of suspect some of them weren't.

And in some ways, I ended up feeling like just swapping work with two other people was much better than trying to slog through 5-6 different pieces of work a week. I could focus more on the two works, get more involved in critting them (and enjoy the reading more!) and didn't feel as distracted.

But anyway, best of luck to this group. My advice to you (and anyone else considering this):

-Try to make sure you're on the same page as the other members of the group. I think one of the reasons 3 of us in the group ended partnering up after the group collapsed was that we were all in the same place with our manuscript (completed, and we were looking for betas for the whole thing, while some of the group members were still writing their drafts and posting chapters as they wrote them). Plus, we managed to match up in terms of reading interest (genres within the group were quite varied, and I think some people were less than interested in some of the other pieces because it wasn't a genre they liked/read). You may want to be inclusive, but having people be at the same place in their manuscripts and being of a similar genre (or at least generally liking the genres the other members are writing) will probably go a long way in keeping things more stable.

-Be prepared for things to fall apart anyway, and appreciate anything you get. ;)