The Anatomy of a Critique Group

The Rockville Writers’ Group gets together on the fourth Saturday of each month.  I very much look forward to our meetings because I know that I’ll always come away with a sense of accomplishment, whether it is relative to my own writing or that of my colleagues.

            I got to thinking about why this critique group works so well and why some fail.  I

identified a number of factors that I’d like to share.

            First, the Rockville Writers’ Group is structured.  We have guidelines for operation which insure that all members are actively engaged.  We critique in a proscribed way. 

            All the members of the group enjoy active lives with plenty of responsibilities and interests.  But when we come together, it’s all about writing. That’s our focus and we stick to it.

            Group members enjoy an easy camaraderie.  We joke.  We laugh.  We like being together.

            Speaking for myself, when I submit a story for critique, I truly value the group’s input.  And that’s because my colleagues are all terrific writers and I respect their talents.  They provide me with suggestions and diverse points of view that enrich my writing.  If I don’t want to integrate suggested changes into my story, I’m under no pressure to do so.

            We have eight group members-four women and four men.  We come from different professions, different life situations and write in several different genres.  Mystery/suspense, literary fiction, and science fiction.  Some of us are traditionally published, some self-published, and some not yet published. Some write short stories, others novels.  The diversity works for us.

            In May, I’ll be celebrating my second anniversary with the group.  And I’m the newest member.  I know that over the years of its existence, members have come and gone.  But, at this point in time, the chemistry is right.

            Here’s to the Rockville Writers’ Group!

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