Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Critique Group Day

I belong to a super critique group, and today is our meeting day. We don’t meet often, about once every two months. The purpose of the group isn’t really to read everything that each of us has written, but to help with difficult parts.

We meet at a pub in downtown Toronto, which sounds rather strange – how can you have a meeting in a pub? But we’ve found a nice place that has a private, quiet corner. We’ll start off with a drink, and some gossip about the publishing biz, then have dinner, and then open the pages. We send the pages we want to discuss about a week before the meeting so everyone has a chance to read them.

There are plenty of ways of organizing a critique group. Probably as many types of groups as there are writers, but I’d suggest one rule only for anyone looking to form, or join a group. You absolutely have to trust in your group members. You don’t have to accept their judgement, and do everything they tell you – which would be difficult as they can be contradictory! – but you do have to be able to justify if only to yourself why you are not taking their advice. Similarly, you have to believe that their work is good enough to be published, otherwise, why bother?

I belonged to an online critique group some years ago, and when I think back on it, it’s a wonder I kept writing. Some of the members were harsh to the point of being mean; one woman completely rewrote a section of my dialogue and said “There, it works much better this way.”

One of the members of my group, Donna Carrick, has just had her new book, The First Excellence, released. I haven’t read it yet, but certainly am looking forward to it. After all, I know it was well critiqued!


  1. Thank you, Vicki! I'm looking forward to seeing you all tonight. Lots of good discussion on the agenda...
    See you then!

  2. Thank you for the great post.
    All the best,