As part of our monthly meetings, we take time to critique each other's in-progress manuscripts. Members are encouraged to bring up to five double-spaced pages to be read aloud by the writer to attending members.
For most writers, feedback is crucial, yet painful. It can be hard to hear someone tell you your masterpiece needs tweaking. For those who choose to participate, we have a few tips to keep in mind:
- Make sure you begin with what you liked about the story.
- Be diplomatic. Not all people are at the same level in their writing.
- Explain why you think the scene didn’t work and offer a suggestion on how to improve it.
When being critiqued:
- It’s not personal. It is only meant to help.
- Remember, critiquing is subjective and only one person’s opinion.
- Do not argue or defend the work. You don’t have to change it if you are happy with the way it is written.
- That said, if more than three people make the same comment, rethink the scene.
- In the end, it is still your story, so your decision is final.
Anyone attending their free meetings prior to joining is invited to provide critique to other members, but will not be eligible for their work to be critiqued at that time. Writers who are new to critique may not be comfortable hearing criticism of their work, so this policy allows potential members to see how critique works and get used to the idea. Once you are a paid member of the chapter, bring your five pages to the next meeting.
When time or distance does not allow you to attend a regular critique group, we recommend “Becoming Your Own Critique Partner” an Eppie winning resource from Janet Lane Walters and Jane Toombs.