Monday, May 20, 2013

Critique Groups

I have learned a lot about writing from taking classes and going to conferences, but the place I've learned the most is in my critique group. If you're thinking about creating one or changing the one you have, here are some questions to think about.

 1. Critique group sizes: what's ideal...pros and cons of larger/smaller groups
2. How often should a group meet?
 3.  How does the written critique differ from what's brought up in the meeting
 4.  Should pages be read in advance or read aloud at the meeting? What we do and why we've decided to do it this way
5.  How many pages? This is a function of how often a group meets, oftentimes. Some do a chapter. But groups should also consider how much time there is in an evening to go over things. 
6.  How to balance the need to get through a lot of material with the fun we have together
7.  Supplemental activities like retreats and hanging out together at writing conferences
8.  Support, both in writing and in life's troubles/good stuff
9.  Adding new do you vet them? How do you tell if someone will click with the group?
10.  Critique group it important to have similar goals (like striving for publication vs. writing for fun) or similar genres or commitment levels or ?
11.  Groups can include other activities besides critique. Some groups may choose to have a short lesson or writing activity before starting the critique part
12.  Food--pros and cons
13.  Talk about the skill of giving a helpful, not hurtful critique...balancing positive and negative, etc.
14.  Talk about the skill of distilling what you want to say about someone's piece into a concise comment that all can benefit from, not just the writer of that piece

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