I’ve been a part of four different critique groups at different times in my life (and in different places around the country). What I find again and again in a group committed to working together is that members gain as much, if not more, than they give.
I’ve been in revision mode for the last month. I’d finally found where I thought my mid-grade girls’ book needed to go, wrote it up, and took it to my meeting. And what did my critique partners say? You’re not there yet.
Here’s where the magic comes in. We started talking. Together we brainstormed about what really needed to happen. I was closer, I had upped the tension, but the majority of that tension wasn’t carried by the protagonist, as it needed to be.
I started rattling off my protagonist’s character traits, one being that she has always played the role of secret keeper. Suddenly, things began to crystallize. What if the secrets she kept got out, against her will? What if her friends didn’t believe she was innocent? What would the consequences be for her friendships and the club?
Now I’m moving CAN’T BREAK US in this new direction, excited to watch my protagonist grow and see the story come together as it should.
Thanks, Bonnie and Dayle!
How has your critique group helped guide your writing?
The Slushbusters’ help has been immeasurable. At our meeting on Tuesday, they had the first two chapters of my new WIP, and I got much the same advice. Amp up the tension, and let the MC take the lead. I was giving too much of the action to the best friend.
That sounds like some great group time. My group helps me with the big things, but also a lot of little things too–like telling me that basketball jerseys can’t be embroidered. They catch so many things I’d never catch myself.
Yaya' s Changing World says
Taht seems to be the way things go in almost all giving situations.
Yaya’s Changing World
Hooray for breakthroughs!
The two groups I’m in have helped me tremendously with pacing–when to trim and speed things up, when to delve deeper.
Dayle James Arceneaux says
You’re welcome, Caroline. I don’t mind writing most of your stuff and not getting credit for it as long as I get the occasional thank you.
🙂 JUST KIDDING!!!
It’s always good to have other writers – especially ones I trust like you and Bonnie – give a fresh perspective on my writing.
The strengths of others make up for our own weaknesses.
Roni @ FictionGroupie says
Ah, gotta love a great crit group. I don’t know what I’d do without mine. Congrats on the breakthrough. 🙂
Bethany Mattingly says
I’m waiting for most of my critique group to give back what they think of my WIP. So far, their advice has been so very helpful! I can’t wait to see what they think I can improve upon.
Sounds wonderful! I love a good brainstorming session!!!
Caroline Starr Rose says
How are your re-writes going, you know, the ones I should get credit for? 🙂
Kristin Rae says
I have two crit groups – one in person, one online, and both have been incredible. The in person group is helping me with my WIP, and my online group is helping me revise my completed novel before the agent search begins! A good group is hard to find, but completely helpful once you do!
Wendy Sparrow says
That’s awesome. It sounds like you have a fantastic critique group! I hope the rewrite is going well.
Wonderful news! I’m glad your crit group was able to help you out!
I’ve had two critique groups, one was awesome, one not so much. Too long a story to post here.
I don’t have a formal group now. My time is limited, and I don’t like to reveal my work when I’m in the middle of it. I just have a select few who read my stuff and give feedback when I’m ready and I do the same for them. Some are writers, some are not. I think it’s valuable to have both viewpoints.
At any rate, I love people who challenge me to be better.
Jemi Fraser says
My crit buddies are online. We work really well together – I think we’d be amazing if we got together in real life!
Awesome for crit buddies! I am not to that stage of the game yet… but when I am I will know that they are a great source of inspiration and encouragement!!