Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Critique Groups

The SCBWI-MI listserv has been discussing what makes a successful critique group. Debbie Diesen  and Sandy Carlson liked my post, so here it is again.

  1. Be honest. Telling someone their submission is great when it’s not is neither kind nor polite. 
  2. Be constructive. Telling someone to put their manuscript in a drawer isn’t helpful. Not every manuscript can be published, but every manuscript can be improved. The writer can learn by improving it.
  3. Writing and critiquing are different skills. Both have to be developed.
  4. For face-to-face groups, have a person other than the writer read the submission out loud. The writer should listen for awkward phrasing and observe the reactions of the other members of the group. It’s a great way to judge emotional impact.
  5. If submissions are sent in advance, read them and think hard about them.
  6. Say what works and doesn’t work, even if you can’t figure out how to make a helpful revision suggestion.
  7. The critique is about the manuscript, not the person who is critiquing. I love it when critique members compliment my ideas, but the bottom line is improving the manuscript.
  8. The writer must make the final decision about which critique suggestions to use.  

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great advice Ann. Hope to get into a new critique group soon and will use your tips.