Oh. My. God. Critique Groups. I woke up today on the wrong side of the bed and decided to rant about critique groups. Lemme tell you something about these, if you’re looking to join one or create one, anything. Make sure the people who are participating actually have good writing. It’s not about whether or not their critique is valid based on their own quality. It’s not about discrimination. It’s about whether or not you can actually handle reading their entire (industry standards generally imply 90k word) work. Which would imply then, that you’d feasibly be reading this manuscript, if you meet once per week, for approximately two years. Two years of reading potentially utter tripe? I don’t want to see you devastated by this terrible inconvenience. I don’t want to witness your potential pain. Thus, I am telling you watch out for bad writing in critique groups.
Otherwise, there’s literally a million places you can go to find one. Be smart, Google it locally. Look up something on Meetup, that is how I found two of mine and several other lucrative get-togethers, I might add. It’s a good site, I recommend it.
Back to the actual story. The original critique group I started in was great. Great critique with good writers. Beware, they can devolve into the above situation where one reads what is tantamount to crap every single week and have to critique it as nicely as possible. The issue is not simply the shitty writing, it is the lack of interest in actual improvement. Surprisingly, for the number of different groups I’ve attended there exists the shocking theme that very few people actually want a real critique and actually listen to what is being said about their work. Perhaps it’s related to age, that you hit a certain age and then suddenly think you’re infallible. Perhaps it’s just laziness. Either way, someone with this behavior is genuinely what ruins a night if not your entire mood about writing. Because then you’ll start to worry that your own work is just as bad and that is a sure-fire way to take the wind out of your sails.
So avoid the idiots and prosper.
Sofia B Ashford
P.S. this is also, in my opinion, a feasible replacement for the nightmare that is extensive beta reading (like between 5 and 10 people).
If you want to read more of my inspired writing, check out the other blogs and follow us on FB, the posts are oh so informative. Or you could read my newly released title “The Belle of Eden,” which is available here.