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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, November 14, 2011

critique groups

I joined a critique group today--four women writers who will take my work apart and mark it up with red pencil! I'm excited about this since I've been isolated for several long years working to get my book ready for publication. Now I can meet with others, read and edit their work and receive editing with grace and aplomb. (At least I hope I will.)  The last group I was in was too large, in my opinion--seven or eight women, all wanting feedback. But that group had a leader and there were writing exercises that we did every time we met, after which we would read our writing and those that had a mind to comment, would.

To me, it was difficult to come up with comments on a piece that we just heard without having it in hand, and most of the time I found myself uncomfortably silent while I listened to those who were quick enough to take in the writing, have an emotional response and talk about it cogently...at the time I felt a heavy responsibility to come up with something intelligent to say, but nerves, combined with the distraction of looking at the reader, hearing tone of voice and so on kept me from taking in the piece.

So now I must decide what writing I will share. Will it be the sequel to Wolf Moon that I just began or the fictionalized version of a memoir I started four and a half years ago? I'm leaning toward the 'memoir' since it's what led to Wolf Moon--I needed some 'fun' writing to take me out of the emotional story of my parents.

Are you in a critique group and if so, how is it for you? What do you share?


  1. I know what you mean. I always need to re-read a piece and reflect before commenting.

    Sam Smith

  2. Hope the critique group goes well for you Nikki! I'm a huge believer that a critique partner or group - if they are a good match - can help your writing tremendously.

    (By the way, when I read your bio: "I write, I walk, I do yoga and I love to travel." I felt as if I could have written that!)

  3. Hi Nikki! I'm also in the market for a face-to-face critique group. I met a woman recently at a writing workshop and she said I was welcome to visit her group. (A bit of a drive, but I'd be willing to do it.)

    I hope your experience is a good one, and I'm looking forward to hearing about it! :)

    (We just connected via Twitter from Bookblogs. Stop by mine sometime and say hello! http://mstracybrown.blogspot.com )

  4. I'm fortunate to be in a whole novel critique group and it is liberating to be honest, and accept honesty. No punches are pulled and we still remain friends. I hope this one works out for you

  5. I am not in a critique group, at this time. Good luck! I hope you like the new group.