Thursday, February 5, 2009

Critique Groups

Okay, so a few weeks ago I had mentioned critique groups in my post. Sooo many of you have asked me why critique groups are so important (okay, only one of you, but humor me). Here, my dear friends, are the many sorted answers from my brain.

I started a book in April and finished it in June (Yes, three quick months). I took it with me to a writer’s conference to have it looked over. The first question I received was, “Don’t you have a critique group?” Unfortunately, that book is sitting on my computer, lost in files of, “What was I thinking?”

I took a creative writing course at the university. Within the first or second units, our teacher asked each of us form a critique group. I did, thinking I would only work in the group for a few months while I finished my class. I’m still in that critique group. LOVE YOU GUYS! I’m bringing the cookies next week!

Why? Why would they ask me if I was involved with critique group? Why would my teacher suggest a critique group? Because critique groups are invaluable!

I can not tell you how many times I have written something that made sense to me, but not the reader. Words were misspelled (hee hee, all the time), or I had the wrong word instead of the right one (steal, steel – just because they sound the same, doesn’t mean they are the same, people!), and let’s not forget that sneaky structure problem we all sometimes have. I was on my way to the store ….when BAM….I ended up at the circus. Completely off the path of my story.

Sometimes my critique group has told me things that wouldn’t work in my piece – Remember the horse thing a couple of weeks ago? If not… you can’t ride a horse backwards, not without your knowledge. If you try and you end up looking at the wrong end of a horse that was supposed to be the front, let me know. We could have a few giggles.

That information was priceless! Could you imagine all the laughs I would have gotten if I hadn’t change it? Thanks L.T.E. :)

Yes, when you read your work, it will sound right to you, because, let’s face it - in your mind you know what is going on. You know the history of your book, you know what the characters in your book are thinking or feeling. Sometimes those ideas don’t get across to the reader. Why is she kissing him? Didn’t she just send an arrow flying through the air towards his chest?

Did you know that most professional writers have a critique group? Yes, even they make mistakes (I love and praise them for it).

So that’s it. Critique groups are Invaluable! Well, they are. Oh, and when you go to that first group, remember to take your security blanket. There will be shedding of tears. Don’t worry, the tears will last longer if your manuscript is horrid.


LexiconLuvr said...

DUDE! I swear I'm not the butcher of your works!!! I swear it on my firstborns! (I'll regret that horsey comment for life. And I'll talk to you about that later. Yeah, that's right. Later...)

Seriously though, Scarlet. You're awesome. You're so much better than you give yourself credit for. We, in your critique group, love and admire you and think the world of you (and your writing.)

I'll never have enough words to properly thank you for setting up our critique group. It has changed my life in a myriad of ways. I'm a better person, writer, and friend because of you. I loves ya.

Yep---you heard it first. No one could PAY ME ENOUGH to quit this writers group. "You might be worth a million to everyone else but to me you're worthless!!!"

Scarlet Knight said...

I'm totally crying right now! Thanks a lot, mascara everywhere. j/k

I think the group has been the best thing we have ever done! I love it, I love you guys, and (let's face it) I love the treats.

L.T. I loves ya right back girl! You're stuck with me now...forever...mwa ha ha.

Linda Garner said...

I love our critique group, and not just for the writer's stuff. I think my favorite is when we laugh ourselves silly. I also love when we share what's in our hearts. You can't buy that. Of course the writer's stuff is fabulous. Loads of Love. LG

Scarlet Knight said...

I totally agree, Linda. You guys are my free therapy (if you want it or not). See how great a group is? Love it!
Thanks Linda, Lots of hugs!

Ashley Harward said...

Scarlet, you make me so jealous! I have a critique book over the internet, but I would love to have an awesome group to meet with in person.

Scarlet Knight said...

Ashley, I must admit, meeting in person makes a big difference. I can’t tell you how many times I read something that was critiqued and didn’t understand what the critique meant until I met with that person. I love it, and the group is AWESOME! Plus, my writing is getting so much better with their help. If you can, I would try to get one together.

Plus cookies are a great incentive to get together! Okay, maybe only for me, but it works.