Thursday, 8 May 2008

Why Belong to a Critique Group?

Two years ago I was a writer without direction. My fantasy novel was about one-third completed and I had twelve chapters of a children’s novel, with no idea of where to go next with it. I needed something or someone to push me forward. Being from a small country town, I had no choice of joining a writer’s group. So I joined a British chat group attached to a magazine I bought regularly. Through one of its members I learned about Critique Circle.

It took me a while to pluck up courage to post my first chapter, but I’m so glad I did. Since then I have learned so much and finished first drafts of both books.

So why is belonging to a critique group a good idea?

* It allows you to read other people’s work and to learn what works and what doesn’t.
* It lets you read a wide range of genres you might otherwise not think to read.
* You are given pointers on good writing from more experienced writers.
* You learn what your own strengths are.
* You learn what your weaknesses are.
* You’re encouraged to -
continue
improve
redraft
scrap what doesn’t work
experiment
finish
* You ‘meet’ other writers from around the world with whom you can share your ups and downs. Some become good friends.

That last point has been an important one for me. If someone had told me two years ago that I would have friends in America, England, The Netherlands, Canada, India and other parts of Australia I would have laughed. But I do, and I greatly value the help they’ve given me. I feel like I’m a part of a group that I can really connect with and I need that. Let’s face it, being a writer can get very lonely.

6 comments:

Luc2 said...

I agree with everything you wrote about Critique Circle, but the downside is that it's addictive.

Your friend from the Netherlands. :)

Kate said...

How did you know I meant you, Luc? ;)
Yes, it is addictive, but it keeps us writing, so it can't be bad can it?

Angela said...

Whoo-I'm Canada! Me! Me!

*sniff* at least I hope it's me...

And yes, CC is addictive. That's why you become a mod. Then you can be there all the time and no one can say you're weird. Okay, well, people still say I'm weird, but it's for yanno, other stuff...

Kate said...

Hello, my Canadian friend...the one I have to be nice to, in case she has me banned from CC or starts censoring my posts, or makes my crits mysteriously disappear... ;)

How Publishing Really Works said...

Have you considered Absolute Write? It has a fantastic messageboard, and I've seen better crits there than anywhere else online.

There's a link on my front page, if you're interested. And no, I don't earn a commission from them!

Jane

Kate said...

Thanks, Jane. I'll check it out.