I am very fortunate to have found a wonderful group of writers who share their stories with me on a biweekly basis.
I have learned many things from these people.
Below are my thoughts on what to look for in a critique group whether it be a group that meets regularly or an online critique group or partner.
Look for people who are not only complementary and voice your strengths in writing, but question you on the purpose of your story, the genre you are writing for and the arcs in your story. They question your characters and their motivation.
A great writing group motivates you. They support, gently guide and encourage you. Their networking sources and experiences (good or bad) are invaluable.
How to critique others is something that is also an invaluable lesson.
Don’t critique unless you are invited to do so
Start with strengths – be objective on weaknesses
Invite questions from them – what do they feel is weak and confusing
Don’t refer to “you” – refer to the piece
Be specific, not vague
Avoid strong negative language – this might be more compelling if. . .
Point out effective words/ill-chosen words, the strongest points/weakest points
Learning to critique takes time – but time is what we all need to become better writers