ProTalk Discussion: Critique Groups- 5/17/05
Verla: two minutes to Show Time...
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to ProTalk Discussion - Critique Groups - IN PROGRESS... welcome!
Verla: (That's for two minutes from now...)
Verla: are you all ready to begin?
Verla sharpens her fingertips...
Verla: Okay then...
Verla: (I believe in starting on time!)
els: more or less
Cana: cracking knuckles
Verla: Tonight we are having a ProTalk Discussion... these are different from our Workshops, in that everyone participates in the discussions
kellyr: hmm . . .
Verla: we still try not to do the hellos and goodbyes during the hour, as it makes it MUCH easier for me to edit the transcript later for posting
Verla: you are all encouraged (note ENCOURAGED) to chime in with your own opinions, and questions at any time. We're very informal
Verla: okay... who here has ever been in a critique group or would like to be in one?
kellyr: I'm in one now
Verla raises her hand multiple times
JKC waving hand.
els: I'm in one
Cana: I'm in one now
JKC: I'm on the search.
Cana: We are morphing at the moment
Verla: great! Okay... let's talk first about what makes a good critique group and how you go (or went) about finding one...
Cassandra_: I'm in a great one and have been in severall others
kellyr: I found mine on my local SCBWI board
Cana: trust is imperitive
Verla: My first one was established through SCBWI (in the days before computers and the internet, if you can believe that!)
Cana: found mine on the yellow board
kellyr: all the members in the group are children's writers, so that was a good start
Cana: the first one, found the second one here
Cassandra_: I've found them on yella, SCBWI, local scbwi, and from Verla's
kellyr: mine meets in person
Verla: we were an "In person" group and met once a month for several years. There wasn't one in my area, so I called everyone in the SCBWI roster that lived near me and started my own group.
Cana: I'm in an in person SCBWI group as well
AM: I have an online one for short stuff and an inperson one for novels.
kellyr: any differences between the quality or nature of the critiques in-person vs. online?
*** AM is now known as Anne_Marie
Verla: I liked being the one to start it, because then I got to set the rules. LOL!
Anne_Marie: Not right now, Kelly. I had an online group before this one that was less helpful.
Verla: I personlly think there are advantages to both kinds of groups, kelly.
Cana: The online groups can be more detailed
els: what do you mean by morphing, Cana?
Cana: but then you can't read the emotion
Cana: Is morphing a word?
Verla: with an in person group, you really get to know the people, and you feel "pressured" to have something new written/done for each meeting so it's like a deadline to meet
Cana: We're trying to decide if we want to change our subbing guidelines
els: you said your group was morphing
kellyr: I took an online course where we had to critique other people, and it seemed easier for people to be blunt online than in person
els: ah, ok
Verla: (I understood morphing, cana, and if it isn't a word, it should be, IMO)
JKC: I don't think there are many writers in my area...so in person is out.
Cana: As we change and grow as writers, sometimes the parameters of the group has to change as well.
Verla: the disadvantages of an in person group, compared to an online group to me are...
Verla: you can only submit when the group meets
Cana: We had one member join our group only to leave a month later
Verla: with an online group, you can submit anytime, and often get instant feedback (or not, depending on your group)
Verla: true, cana
WriterMel: which group, Cana?
Cana: You can spend more time on a crit in an online group
Verla: with an online group, you can get opinions from people from all over the country (or even the world!)
Cana: In a face to face group you many only get 20 min or so
Verla: with online groups, you can do the crits when you have the time
Verla: so it's more flexible for busy/active lifestyles
WriterMel: time is a major factor...
WriterMel: and a working email.
WriterMel: and a working computer.
Cana: I like using colors with online crits :)
Verla: however... on the downside, you can't see the critiquer's face, or hear their voice, so it's much easier to be hurt by an email crit
Anne_Marie: You also have more people to choose from. In a local group, you're limited if you're not in a big city.
Verla: very true, AM
Verla: which is why my crit groups right now are all on line. I don't want to drive an hour to get to other writers
Cana: most face to face groups are mixed genres
Verla: (each way)
WriterMel: I've never had the experience of a face to face group.
Verla: Okay... when you are in a critique group, it can be as individual an experience as anything else in life...
kellyr: I like the face-to-face aspect, and have formed decent bonds with most members
kellyr: It gets tricky when folks don't pull their weight, though.
Verla: some critique groups are very business-like and would get upset if you came in and mentioned that you'd had a bad day (or an especially good day)
Verla: others are more social than business and it's hard to even get TO the crits...
Verla: (I call those "support groups" rather than critique groups)
Cana: I like a mix of both, but the crits are most important
WriterMel: I think you have to be careful of getting/giving critiques, too.
Cana: That's why we joined the group
kellyr: I like the crits best, although we have about 5-10 mins of social up front
Verla: (that would be a face to face group with ten or more members usually, JKC ...
WriterMel: Measure your crit carefully... make sure it fits the writer's vision for the book.
Verla: with that many critiques to get through in a couple of hours, there wouldn't be time for "chit chat")
kellyr: that's true
Verla: very true, mel
JKC: Oh...we're still talking about in person.
kellyr: but that seems like an awfully big group!
WriterMel: I'm talking both, online & in person.
Verla: actually, we're talking about both at the same time, jayme
Verla: I was in one like that, kelly, and it WAS big.
Cana: my online group usually has only 2 or 3 consistant members
WriterMel: I've received crits that clearly show me that the writer wasn't really reading the material submitted...
Verla: it was also very hard to feel very involved with the others because there were so many of them
Cana: others come and go, many new members that come only once
kellyr: that must be hard to adjust to, Cana
Cana: It's still fun to see the different writing styles though...
Verla: memberships change (sometimes constantly) in any critique group and the members' needs change, too
Verla: (someone else mentioned that a few minutes ago
Verla: I personally like to be a group that concentrates on the kind of writing I do, but that is also open to any other kind of writing that might need a crit... for instance... I like to be in a rhyming crit group that will allow me to send in flap copy for an upcoming book for crit, or an article I wrote for a magazine or newletter, or an author's note for a book, or even a chapter from a novel, as well as my rhyming stories.
Cana: Communication is very important.
Verla: communication is VITAL
Verla: without communication within your group, it will fall apart very quickly
WriterMel: I agree, Verla, but it doesn't always work out that way.
Verla: about the kind of crit group subs, mel? Or the communication comment?
WriterMel: kind of crit groups
WriterMel: well, both, actually.
Verla: Heh heh... I was giving you my "ideal" crit group, mel
Verla: for ME
Verla: that's not what you will probably ever see!
kellyr: I'm lucky with mine - we all do children only, and pbs, mg, poems and articles all are okay. Plus letters, etc.
kellyr: The communication thing is the harder part
kellyr: Sometimes a member sends way more than we agreed on, and/or doesn't bother to give a real critique.
Verla: what's important is to find a group that "fits" you and your needs regarding time, kinds of crits, frequency of submissions, etc.
Cassandra_: Our crit group has a tremendous level of trust, it's made all the difference in the world. We've been very lucky.
kellyr: "That was nice" isn't helpful.
Verla: if you are very busy, a group that wants you to critique six manuscripts a week is probably going to kill you off (or drive you insane) in short order
Anne_Marie: Cass, I think groups like that are one in a million.
Cana: If your needs change you have to be able to communicate that to your group honestly
Cassandra_: I agree, AM
JKC: How do you find a crit group to fit.
Verla: it takes work on the part of everyone involved to make a critique group work
Cana: you may find the group is in agreement
Verla: I agree, cana
Verla: I couldn't find one to fit my needs, jayme, so I started my own group!
Verla: and *I* set the rules. :-)
kellyr: JKC - I didn't know any better and lucked into the first one I saw. But Verla's way sounds good!
Cassandra_: JKC, I think you have to be willing to try different groups, and then be willing to move to something different if the group is no longer helping you become a stronger writer
Verla: once they were set, I put out a "call" for members
Cana: but then you have to enforce the rules as well
Cana: that's the hard part
Verla: I've found that I don't try to enforce the rules once they've been set. Instead, I let the group "morph" into whatever it becomes. If it becomes something I'm no longer satisfied/happy with, I move on and leave the group to continue without me. (And start a new one. LOL)
Anne_Marie: Verla, do you have a group now or do you just have crit buddies?
Verla: I've come and gone in quite a few groups...
Cana: getting a good crit is what fires me up to write and revise
kellyr: love 'em and leave 'em
Verla: I have a group that is very very very quiet, right now, AM. We have subs maybe three times in one month, and then nothing for several months. But that suits my busy lifestyle right now
Cassandra_: Cassanova critiques, kellyr
Verla: I'm in another group that I consider my "support group"...
Verla: Deetie and Melody and Shirley and Linda Joy are all in that group... along with several others
*** ^Miriam has joined channel #kidlit
Verla: including Miriam! LOL
WriterMel: in our support group.
ShirleyH: (I love my support group!)
Verla: I can always send a manuscript to my support group for a critique and usually someone in the group (or several someones) wil crit it
Verla: but mostly we just email daily and share our deepest, darkest personal lives with each other and support each other through rough times, celebrate with the good times, and just hopefully make each other feel good on a daily basis
Anne_Marie: I got over 100 emails from my crit group today. They're insane.
Cassandra_: Our group uses yahoo groups, which works well for those who want either e-mail or go through yahoo directly
kellyr: we do that too, although we're a face-to-face meeting group
Verla: Okay... any other comments anyone wants to make about what makes a good (or bad) critique group?
kellyr: do your groups structure their critiques in any particular way? We occasionally use a cover sheet that "directs" the critique.
Cassandra_: I know there are exceptions, but for me, the crits are the life of the group, so if the crits aren't coming on a regular basis, the group may crumble
kellyr: It has "what I like", "where I lost interest", "examples of good parts", and stuff like that
Cassandra_: so, I like groups with schedules
Cana: I like crits that make me think...questions
kellyr: I agree with you, Cana
Amishka: a good crit is one that makes you think
Torty: me too, Cana. Challenging is good
kellyr: Of course, it's annoying when the question stumps me, because then I have to do really HARD work to fix it
Cassandra_: It also works well when the writer puts some questions up front, such as "how does the ending work?" or "is the meter wonky?" it helps solicit the kind of feedback the writer wants
Amishka: no one can tell you how to do it, that's not why you join a crit group -
kellyr: but it's the best part of the crit, really
Cana: Seeing your ms through someone else's eyes is what it's all about
Verla: I would have a hard time with a crit like that, kelly, as I like to go through a manuscript and just write down all the things that "jump out" at me... good and bad things. Usually I see the bad stuff first. Then I go back and search for all the good things, too, and I believe very strongly in the "sandwich critique" method
Torty: And personally for me a good crit will point out the 'Aussie' terms I don't even know I'm using in my work
NOTE: Torty lives in Australia
Anne_Marie: And it's a good idea to let the group know where in the writing stages you are--if it's a first draft and you just want to see how the idea is working, or if you think it's a final draft and you want proofreading.
Amishka: I don't like a crit that's all grammar and punctuation corrections.
Cassandra_: great point, Anne Marie
Anne_Marie: I agree, Mish, unless the writer asks for that (and has done as much as possible on her own)
Cana: It's very hard for me to do a general crit
kellyr: I do the thorough critique first, then the summary cover sheet (when I decide to use it). It helps direct it as a "sandwich" critique
Amishka: right AM
Verla: absolutely, AM! Sometimes I've sent a manuscript and told my crit group, "I'm not looking for a line by line crit... I don't even want to know if the rhyme or rhythm is off (because I know it is!) I just need to know if the basic story line stinks or works..."
JKC: Perhaps I should join a Crit Group to learn how to crit.
Verla: It will help you, jayme.
Amishka: I don't even want my copy editor to correct my grammar it's like that for a reason - now if I were writing non fiction I wouldn't mind grammar correction
Cana: you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to see your own errors after learning to crit other mss
Verla: does everyone know what the "sandwich critique" is?
kellyr: I do!
Cana: me too!
JKC: Oh, I could always use grammar correction because I'm not married to my words, but I would prefer more thoughts that nitpicks.
Verla: A sandwich critique is when you "sandwich" the correction suggestions (the bad stuff) in between good comments about the manuscript. (What really works in it or "sings" to you.)
Cana: 'bad' stuff sandwiched between the 'good' stuff
Cana: yeah...what she said.
JKC: Makes sense.
Verla: it's also very helpful to know what the author needs/wants in a crit
Amishka: shoot that's an inside out sandwich. Normally the good stuff is in the middle
Cana: lol mish
Cassandra_: Depends on the bread, Mish
Amishka: mind you I don't particularly want moldy bread either
NiMan: we did a lot of contructive criticism stuff at writing camp
Cassandra_: Gee, your standards are awfully high, Mish
NiMan: taught me a lot about not taking criticism personally and how to give good criticism to other people
Verla: Is the author looking for grammar corrections? Tense changes? Out of viewpoint corrections? "Sparkling words" suggestions? (suggestions of active and/or special descriptive words that would raise a story from the ordinary to super special)
Cana: you can't take it personally or you'll never make it in this business
kellyr: I think I want to go to writing camp. Sounds nice.
NiMan: I'll tell you about my quirks someday, Cana ;)
NiMan: I think anything that can make a piece better and isn't hideously nitpicky is good to point out
Verla: does the writer need/want a line by line critique, or just an "overview" of "does this work or not?"
WriterMel: I know I want to go to a writing camp.
NiMan: "You switch tenses here and here" is a lot better than "oh my God, you used eight thousand commas!"
JKC: I would LOVE to go to a writing camp.
Verla plans to hold a writing camp at her big house (when we're finally in it!)
JKC: Count me in!
kellyr: Dibs on the clawfoot tub!
Verla: or eight thousand exclamation points, NiMan. <grin>
WriterMel: I get the jacuzzi.
kdbrazil: there's a jacuzzi?
Verla: no jacuzzi yet, mel
WriterMel: there WAS a jacuzzi...
Verla: that was at my old house in California. We MOVED, remember, mel?
WriterMel: I thought you moved it, too, Verla...
WriterMel: BUT I digress...
NiMan: haha, true
Cana: I don't care if they change everything I suggested or not...
Cana: A crit is a way of helping the writer get a new perspective on what they've written
JKC waves hand with question.
Amishka: when you get a crit only change what you want to, too. It's your story
Verla: okay... what's the worst thing that ever happened at a critique group you were in?
Cana: Right, only one opinion
JKC: So...how do you go about finding an intermediate to advanced group without sounding like you're a know it all?
kellyr: Yeah - they can take or leave my comments; that's the point of the critique, to find out how others see your ms, so you can decide if you can live with it or need to adjust
JKC: That was my question.
Cana: unless several members point out the same flaw
Amishka: someone stole an story idea
Anne_Marie: Well, JKC, the first part is to define intermediate and advanced. People define them differently.
Cana: ouch mish
Torty: oh no, Ami!
ShirleyH: Someone threw a manuscript at me!
kellyr: that's awful
JKC: Okay...not newbie.
kdbrazil: that's a good point kellyr...to find out how others see your manuscript
WriterMel: I got completely different feedback on the same scene... everyone said something totally different
Verla: for me, it was two things: the first was when a beloved member died. (In each of TWO different groups I was in!)
Amishka makes a note not to go in Verla's crit group
WriterMel: LOL, Mish!
Amishka: I get that from editors Mel, get used to it
Cana: subbing into never-neverland and not getting crits back, Verla
Anne_Marie: JKC, I'd be very specific when you advertise. Either they've been published in a big magazine, or they have to audition, for example.
kellyr: I read somewhere that you should try to be in a group with people who are further along in the process/better than you. But seriously, who'd want me?
JKC: Okay...I guess that's where the difference comes out.
Verla: The other was when I posted to the other members to "rally round" one of our members who had gotten a scathingly horrible review on a book - to make her feel better, and she was so offended by my "interference" the entire group fell apart!
Anne_Marie: Oh no, Verla.
kdbrazil: ick, verla
Verla: That was when I realized that not everyone in an online crit group will "think" the same way you do and you can NEVER take anything for granted!
JKC: No one ever thinks the same way you do.
Cana: I don't care as much about their writing level as much as their willingness to work and learn
JKC: I'm saying...I would be looking for something thorough and advanced, but not necessarily published people who have to hold my hand.
Cana: Sounds like my kind of group JKC
kellyr: JKC - you might want to look for SCBWI members. While it's easy enough to join, it does show some level of determination to make a go of it, and take it seriously
Cana: yet the latest member that lasted a month was found through SCBWI
kellyr: I knew it wasn't foolproof . . .
Anne_Marie: SCBWI is certainly a starting point.
NOTE: SCBWI is the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators
Cana: It's trial and error
Verla: I agree... SCBWI is definitely a good place to start. Another place is actually on my message board.
Anne_Marie: My online group was formed when the leader advertised on Verla's. My live one came about after an SCBWI workshop.
Amishka: One thing about online crit groups too is that you can not hear their tone so there can be misunderstandings
Cana: does asking for a writing sample improve your chances of getting a serious member?
Amishka: I think so Cana
kellyr: yeah, sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek doesn't always translate in writing
WriterMel: never heard of a crit group doing that, Cana...
Verla: or through the CW list (instructions for joining the CW email list - which now has over 2000 children's writers on it - are on my website on the Writer's Tips page.)
NOTE: The CW list is the Children's Writers listserv
JKC: Yes...and I have a tendency to do both, Kellyr.
WriterMel: has anyone else?
JKC: Which has gotten me in trouble.
kdbrazil: I do think online crit groups take a certain amount benefit of the doubt
Amishka: I think my crit group knows I can be sarcastic
NiMan: hence the helpfulness of expressions and actions in astrisks
JKC: Did you know everyone, Mish?
JKC: Prior to joining the group?
Verla: I've heard of crit groups asking for writing samples. Also heard of groups that put out very strict "rules" for their members.
Amishka: but most of them are in the room
kdbrazil: one of the first days that i browsed the blue board, I ran across an ad for my crit group
kdbrazil: and it asked for an application/writing sample
Verla: I found at first on an online crit group, I would submit NOT my best work... but some things I wasn't worried about having "out there" in case someone wasn't ethical...
JKC: I think a writing sample is only fair plus a little background and crit group hopes.
ShirleyH: I've never asked for a writing sample or given one.
WriterMel: that's interesting...
WriterMel: Im not sure I'd give one...
ShirleyH: I critique a person because I want to help. Everybody starts out bad.
Verla: after a while, I built up trust in my groups, and then submitted my best stuff
kdbrazil: it didn't strike me as odd at all to proivide a writing sample
kellyr: it all comes back to the trust thing
WriterMel: yes, especially if I don't know them.
JKC: Well...I'm not so sure I would advertise my hopes of looking for a PB group.
NiMan: I prefer to critique with people I already know
JKC: I think I would prefer to know the people.
NiMan: it helps because I know their styles and I trust them
JKC: Great minds, NiMan.
NiMan: lol, yis JKC
Verla: I think the writing samples are more important for established groups with members who are all published or very close to publication... to keep the level of the members at a higher level than just a very beginning writer
kellyr: can anyone compare a critique group to a single crit buddy?
Anne_Marie: Mel, I can understand not wanting to email your work to people you don't know, but at the same time, I'd hate to let someone into our group whom we'd have to coddle and baby because they just weren't up to par. I know that sounds harsh, and I do believe in paying it forward, but it's hard to have to hold a beginner's hand for months or years on end.
NiMan: kellyr, in a group you get people with multiple viewpoints and backgrounds
NiMan: sometimes it's helpful to have more than one person look at a piece from different perspectives
Torty: Sometimes a writing sample is about seeing more than just level of competence. It can be about seeing committment and productivity too.
kellyr: I guess I meant compare the level of feedback
WriterMel: I fully understand Anne Marie... it's just my personal preference.
Verla: this chat room is a great way to get to know people before getting into a crit group, too. I know several groups have started through here (including both my current support group and my crit group)
Cana: A writing buddy is great since you can sometimes send them more at a time than you would a crit group
kellyr: anyone have both?
Cana: I agree Torty
Verla: yes, and you can have both.
JKC: Yes...a writing buddy is wonderful.
shelly: kellyr, that really depends on the individual crit buddy and the crit group members...
Verla: yep, kelly. I do.
NiMan: although a group can help you stay out of the "Oh, *you* wrote this, so I love it." pattern
Anne_Marie: I have a writing buddy but now that we're in the same critique group we mostly communicate through that.
shelly: i would say one good crit buddy is better than a bad crit group
Cana: I often look at several chapters, and sometimes the entire ms for a crit buddy
ShirleyH: I have a wonderful critique buddy
Cana: Really helps with ya and mg writers
kellyr: that makes sense
kdbrazil: kellyr, I trade with individual people sometimes and that is great especially if I'm working on something humorous and I send it to someone who is good at humor
shelly: i have some great writing buddies and i also have a great crit group
kdbrazil: or rhyme
Anne_Marie: it is much easier to crit an entire novel.
kdbrazil: but I would still send it past my crit group because of the variety of feedback I'd get
Cana: It can take many months to get a novel through a crit group
ShirleyH: But I used to be in a great group...
Verla: Paula Danziger used to have a crit buddy... Bruce Coville. They would spend hours together on the phone discussing their manuscripts to each other.
Anne_Marie: They also used to make some incredible bets.
kellyr: talk about a quality partnership
Anne_Marie: She told the best stories.
Verla: yep. Sure did. I miss her!
Cana: My crit group is considering using the phone for crits more...I'm nervous about that
kellyr: is it in person or online, usually?
Verla: I wouldn't like phone crits myself, because I'd never remember everything that was said!
ShirleyH: That is an interesting idea Cana
kdbrazil: my thoughts too verla
Cana: More along the line of keeping in touch
kellyr: you'd have to take killer notes
WriterMel: I agree, Verla.
Verla: I like written crits. Another reason is that often I find I'm hurt by crit comments
Cana: When I crit...I chose the time
kdbrazil: plus phone calls would get pretty expensive for me form Brazil
Cana: If they call, it might be the best time
shelly: i also prefer written crits
kdbrazil: that's why my online group is the best!
Verla: I KNOW they aren't meant to hurt... I KNOW they are meant only to help.. but still crits can HURT
Cana: I wouldn't want to be rude or impatient
Torty: They definitely can hurt Verla. I can attest to that
Verla: On line, no one can see or hear me scream and yell and stomp the floor. No one can see my tears of frustration as I throw the manuscript (and/or monitor) across the room...
Amishka: Kelly I have buddies and groups
JKC: Yes...crits can hurt.
kimmar: verla's getting me nervous
Verla: Then when I come back to the crit later (in a few hours or days or weeks or months, depending on the level of hurt)...
NiMan: there's no worse critic than yourself, though
WriterMel: I agree... crits can hurt...
JKC: But they are such help when you get your heart out of the way.
JKC: Mind you...I have a large heart.
Verla: (Kimmar is in my current on line crit group. LOL!)
WriterMel: and some are absolutely not helpful at all.
shelly: kelly, i also have buddies and groups
NiMan: anything someone can say to you, you can do to yourself 100 times worse, lol
Verla: I often discover what the critter had to say was VERY valid and VERY helpful. But first I had to get past the hurt to see it!
JKC: You are SO right, NiMan.
Amishka: yeah no one is kdbrazil's group is humorous
NiMan: I speak from experience, JKC
JKC: Poor kd.
shelly: no, but there is someone in kristy's group who is sarcastic
Verla: Which is why I wouldn't like a phone crit.
JKC: I can tell. And I'm right there with you,NiMan.
Anne_Marie: Did KD say that? Hmmmmmm.
kimmar: I find benefits to both written and oral crits, depending on the critter
Verla: and why I like on line crit groups best. I can throw tantrums and no one (but my husband) knows! LOL
kdbrazil: not what I meant ami
Cana: I didn't really mean a crit...more of a hello, how are you. I'm really kinda shy.
kdbrazil: EXCUSE ME!!!
JKC: Verla throwing tantrums. No there's a picture.
Cana: It's easy to hide behind the computer screen
Amishka: shelly you shouldn't really be calling yourself names
kimmar: I think I've been in every kind of crit group, online, in person reading my own work, in person having someone else read my work
Cana: Anyone ever done a crit by mail? Similar I guess to a online type crit
Verla: hey, Terry could tell some great tantrum stories about me, JKC... if he wanted me to murder him.... Har har
JKC making note to talk to Terry.
kdbrazil: oh so now we know!
Amishka: Verla, that's why I like online critiques too
shelly: i like written crits because i can always go back and reread them, even months afterward
kellyr: sounds like online would be worth trying one of these days
Verla: EEEK! Our time is UP! Any last comments/questions about critique groups before we close, folks?
Amishka: that helps too shelly
Cana: the scary part og online crits is when you send them out, a member quits, and you don't know if you'll see your story somewhere else with their name on it.
kdbrazil: oh i do that too shelly
Amishka: remember a critique is just one person's opinion
Verla: Yep. That's why I love them so much, shelly. (written crits)
shelly: and sometimes i have to read the crits several times in order for all the comments to sink in
Torty: I AGREE Cana
Amishka: never change anything you don't agree with
kimmar: I do like the structure of my new face to face group (the group's not new, but I'm new to it). We each get 30 minutes to use as we choose, reading or own work, We can spend it reading for 15, critting for 15, or any such 30 minute combination
WriterMel: Be honest, but kind.......treat the person as you would want to be treated.
Cana: Be honest and respect each other.
Amishka: If you think your crit buddies are scary wait until you deal with an editor
Cana: lol mixh
Amishka: I love my editor btw (just incase she's reading this)
Verla: and keep the lines of communication OPEN!
shelly: (and even if she's not, ami)
kdbrazil: grow trust with eachother---be committed to each other
JKC: LOL, Mish.
Verla: yep. And do your best to show the other members what their strengths are... as well as where they need help
kimmar: I always try to point out the good and help the author promote his or her vision, even if it's not my own
Tudacee: and not be afraid to accept help, and not take offense at what is offered.
shelly: my final words of wisdom: crit groups are your friend...at least they should be (and if they're not, GET OUT!)
JKC: Exactly Tudacee.
Verla: you can almost always find something good about a story... great character names, funny line here, realistic dialogue in that conversation... nice title... something!
kimmar: i also tailor crits to what the author is asking for at the time, global thoughts, suggestions for change, etc
shelly: (decent punctuation,)
Cana: encourage the writer to grow
Verla: yep. All in all, a crit group can take an ordinary manuscript and raise it to something so special... it's actually publishable! Which I believe is the ultimate goal of most groups. :-)
kimmar: I do try to be honest though, even if I have to cushion it sometimes, because I feel I'm not doing my job as a critter if I don't share my true thoughts
JKC: Yes...I don't think sugarcoating helps.
shelly: you have to develop a thick skin and an open mind to be able to accept critique of your work
Tudacee: being honest in a pleasant way...even if you are saying something doesn't work...
Verla: and there is something so exciting about being in a group where most of the members aren't yet published, and having them, one by one, become published! It's so wonderful to grow together.
Tudacee: can still get your point across
Torty: it is
Amishka: you need that as a writer anyhow, shelly so a crit group is a good way to get it
Verla: even when a group breaks up, you can (and often DO) stay close friends with the people in the group
kdbrazil: another fun thing is being able to celebrate their successes because it feels "personal" to you
Verla: after all, you have "bared your soul" to the others in your crit group. You have shared something very special with them...
Verla: yep, kd!
shelly: right, alma!
kimmar: I do also agree with the comment someone made about trust. with writers I've known for a long time, I find it nice that we don't have to be so "nice" all the time, and they still know we respect their stuff and are able to hear us because they are coming from the same place
Verla: Okay... any last comments before this ProTalk comes to a close?
Cana: I agree Kimmer
JKC: Can't think of any, Verla.
Verla: I'd just say, if you aren't in one... get in one! You won't be sorry you did. No matter what happens, you will learn and grow from the experience.
Cana: I know my writing has improved since I joined a crit group
shelly: (were bad crit groups discussed?)
JKC: Briefly, Shelly.
Amishka: it may take a while to find a good group that fits you
Verla: And that will conclude this session, folks! You may now talk about your personal life, Mel. <grin> Oh.. and... on the 31st, agent Barry Goldblatt will be doing a formal workshop in here... be sure to come early for a good seat!
shelly: being in a good crit group is great, but if it's not a good one, there's little benefit
shelly: and what alma said is 100% true, you may have to try a few before you find the right one
^Miriam: great session verla
WriterMel: what personal life?
JKC: Yes, Verla. Thanks.
WriterMel: who cares, anyway?
WriterMel: Heh, heh, heh...
JKC: I care, Mel.
^Miriam: me too mel
shelly: hey kd! what time is it in brazil?
ErinS: WE care Mel!!
Tudacee: wish I had come earlier.
*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Writers & Illustrators of Children's Literature Meet Here Nightly - Welcome!
Log file closed at: 5/17/05 7:16:50 PM
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