Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Writing Group Gossip

To critique or not to critique. That is the question.
A little bit ago, I blogged about Jayne Ann Kretnz and her advice to aspiring authors. She mentioned writing groups and critique partners, but you can read about that here. It feels like since then, I've seen a lot of stories, posts, and information, on writing groups and critique circles. Some good. Some bad.

The other day, I read a post from an anonymous published author who basically said that critique partners have their place and can be helpful. But early on in this persons career when they lacked confidence in their own ability and writing, sometimes critiques caused them to change pieces that they knew inside were perfect for their story. They said that critiques from others had a way of erasing their voice from the pages.

On Cupid's Connection yesterday, Cupid posted about what his/her blog is meant for. Cupid also included that during contests, the comments section is not solely for critiques of the submitted material, but more so for encouragement. And I couldn't agree more. I've noticed over the last two contests that people have felt the need to pick submissions apart. And If I'm not mistaken, Cupid actually used the word "nitpick". Because lets face it. We're humans. And odds are, if we feel it's our duty to "help" the author in searching out their mistakes and bringing said mistakes under the microscope, we will become bloodhounds until we can howl into the night that we've located the troublesome word/line/explanation. Even if there is no troublesome words, lines, or explanations.

I am in no way saying I disagree with writers groups and critique partners. After visiting numerous "interesting" groups and reading feedback that rubbed me the wrong way like sandpaper on already exfoliated skin, I have found my perfect little circle of a "friends who write" group. Not to mention the fact that I also have trusted beta readers and critique partners who sharpen and encourage me.  

So, whether we love them or hate them, lets gossip about them! Yes, give me your writers group/critique stories. No names please, but I'd love to hear the juicy details. Maybe one good experience and one bad? I think it's always fun to joke about negative learning experiences. It's much better than brooding over them! Right?


  1. I still don't have critique partners and that's probably mostly because I'm a little scared about the whole thing. I know I need them, but the thought of people ripping my stuff to shreds just makes me want to hide right now (again, something I'll need to get over). It seems to me that sometimes we need to take the advice and other times we just need to stick with what our gut tells us. :)

    1. Amen! And when I was just starting out, I didn't trust my gut. I was super confused on what to listen to and what to disregard. Even now I wonder. Some stuff feels nit-picky and I'm tempted to just completely disregard that persons thoughts all together! :)

  2. I don't have crit partners either. I have a confession. I don't trust a lot of 'writers' online. I mean, without reading things they've written, I can't tell if they'll be qualified to crit my writing. So, I don't thrust my queries out on Query Letter Hell on the Absolute Write forum, and I don't ask random people to read my work. I have to know them first. I have to trust them.

    Not to sound arrogant, but I think I know how to write a lot better than many of them, and I know what's good for my own book. - Especially since no matter where I go I ALWAYS get "you can't illustrate your own wok. Period." (regardless of my training, regardless of my experience, based solely on the fact I'm an unpublished author still looking for a publisher). I refuse to listen to that anymore, and hearing it is kind of like a gnat buzzing in front of your face. It can't do much to you, but it really is annoying!

    1. I don't think that's arrogant, I think that's wise. It's the sort of wisdom you gain from experience, or the poor experience of others. :) I have learned that just in the same way that I may not like one story because of the content, someone may not like my story. Just because they are a writer, doesn't mean they'll automatically read my work without any bias. So now I make sure that person already reads and enjoys my type of work before they lay eyes on my pages. Also, if someone is not as advanced in writing as you, they may make a great beta reader. If of-course they are into what you write! ;)

  3. When it comes to CP's you have to always go with your gut. I love my CP she is always on the same page as me and she never stops short of being blunt. If there is a paragraph that is lacking she will point it out and basically tell me I'm better than the paragraph, rewrite it. I think a good CP helps push you to be the best writer you can be. Also there are little things that you may not realize and they will pick up on. Like on page twenty two Johnny had brown eyes but on page ninety three he has green eyes.

    I was lucky that my current CP was my first experience with one, but I have heard some horror stories. Some people have to go through several CP's until they find the right one. Even still you are not obligated to every suggestion they make. You have to read their suggestions, take a step back and decide if that's the direction you want to go.

  4. Also, I just tagged you in a fun writing meme!

    Can't wait to see your seven lines!