Is a Critique Group the Right Thing for You?

The guiding principle of the group is to critique, not criticize. We are here to help, not tear down. We are here not to change your unique writing style, but to help you strengthen it. 

There is a bonding that takes place in a critique group after a few sessions. Members begin to recognize and appreciate one another's critiquing strengths, and mutual trust and a spirit of working together to improve each other's work develops. Also, members often find that in critiquing the work of others, they see ways to improve their own writing.

Each critique group member brings a different style and different skill to the critiquing process. One member may be more focused on the big picture: do things add up, do they make sense? Another may be more interested in grammar and manner of expression. Another on character development. Someone else on moving the story ahead. And all will have a sense of your story's audience appeal. Even though each has a special strength, as a whole they act as a focus group for the audience you are trying to reach. In its present form, is your book or story something your target audience will want to read?

PSWG critique groups are usually made up of 5 to 10 writers who meet weekly. Members take turns reading a few pages of their material. After the reading, the other members make suggestions for improving the writing.

 A critique group may be the right move for you….
-If you have material to read,
-If you realize there is always room for improvement,
-If you are open to the suggestions of your fellow writers, and
-If you can commit to attending every week.


 
A critique group is not the right thing for you....
-If you have nothing to read. For a critique group to work, each member should be prepared to bring 5 to 10 pages of his or her work to read each week. The number of pages differs according to each group's rules. If you are not writing anything at the moment, and don't have a manuscript that needs a fresh look, now is not the time to join a critique group.
 -If you can't make a commitment to be there every week. Critique groups are not set up for members to attend if and when they feel like it. If you join one, it should be with the understanding that you intend to be there every week.

Writing is a solitary exercise. The camaraderie with other writers and the sounding board of a group can be very helpful. For example, we all feel we are communicating our thoughts perfectly to our readers when we write. But it's amazing how many times our thoughts come across imperfectly and the reader has a totally different take on what we are trying to say. That is one way a critique group can be extremely helpful to a writer. The other members will spot that inconsistency and discuss ways to clarify and make it read the way you intended.


LISTING OF PSWG CRITIQUE GROUPS

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Contact for this program is Sunny Simon:

sunny@sunnysimon.com



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