From the pages of:
Novel Writing Made
by Gordon A. Kessler
Groups. A critique group
can be one of
the most beneficial or one of the most harmful things of which a writer can become a part. Critique groups held
by a bunch of know-it-all amateurs can be the worst thing of all. This is especially true for the novice writer
who knows no better than to trust the emphatic judgment of a group of wannabes who have just picked up on a key
writing concept and now have made the
strict obedience to this little writing notion into a personal crusade.
the same time, belonging to an overly agreeable, always-be-nice-and-nurturing-even-if-you-have-to-lie group can
be just as detrimental.
very best group of critics is made up of writers such as yourself, preferably who write in your genre. However,
such a group might be hard to find. The leader of the group must be honest yet open to ideas, and none of the
members should be overbearing and critique with a know-it-all-attitude.
Generally, you’ll find that critique groups
using an oral presentation method can be highly entertaining, especially when the reader has a dynamic voice.
But this sort of presentation doesn’t lend itself well to readers who are less talented. Also, much can be
missed during an oral presentation as the critics jot down notes in order to remember their comments at the end.
And punctuation is, for the most part, impossible to be considered.
With a written
presentation-that is, copies of the work in eight to sixteen page segments being emailed or passed out to all
the critics prior to the meeting-submissions can be read in the same basic form that agents, editors and,
ultimately, the consumer will read them. The critics have time to more carefully consider word choices,
description, punctuation, etc. Then,
during the critique session, comments can be made by the critics in turn as they proceed from page to