1. Hi, Kathy,

    I’m part of an in-person critique that has been going over 10 years. We’ve lost and gained members over the years, but stayed at 6 to 8 members. We’ve had our ups and downs, like any group of people, but we are dedicated and keep coming back for more. Two of us are published. The others are at various stages of their writing career.

    We have written rules which we vote on if anyone wants any changes.

    Our cardinal rule is that everyone must be writing. Personally, I want to know that the members are all going through the same problems I am–how to make my story better–and coming up with ways to solve those problems.

    The important thing we all try to remember is that “It’s my story” and I can take your advice or leave it. And everybody will tell you how THEY would write YOUR story.

    Good post!

  2. It took me three years to find a critique partner, who turned out to be the guy who sat next to me in Write By the Lake for our first novel session. We meet weekly (with two exceptions in 4 months, not bad) and find the actual meeting face/face really good to talk about the writing, and sometimes, why we are not writing (fear, anxiety, life).

    I would add one thing to your great article — it takes time to develop trust and learn how to give a critique that is both honest and helpful versus a) negative or b) superficial. When my critique pal said (recently) “this isn’t up to your usual…” not only did I know he was right, but I knew we’d reach a place of real honesty. So take that time to bond and understand…so worth it. My weekly critique meetings stop me from making excuses!


  3. Geri–that is an excellent point. When I truly bond with someone and share writing, I’m amazed at how strong that bonding becomes, and you are right–speaking from a shared place of authenticity makes for much better, honest critique. Thank you!

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