Welcome Wednesday guests for October:
10/01 Finding Sky author, Susan O'Brien;
10/08 Award-winning Hank Phillippi Ryan (Truth Be Told);
10/15 Indie authors Polly Iyer (Backlash) and Ellis Vidler (Prime Target);
10/22 Murder by the Month author, Jess Lourey;
10/29 Marilyn Levinson, Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery author.

Gloria Alden's latest publication is nonfiction. Boys Will Be Boys: The Joys and Terrors of Raising Boys. Edited by Cher'ley Grogg was recently released and available on Amazon. Gloria wrote three essays and two poems in her chapter included in the book.

Don't miss next month's release of Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays on October 7th, in which WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances") have short stories.

KM Rockwood's
short stories will appear in two anthologies released in October. They are: "The Lure of the Owl" in Swamp Mansion and Other Dark Stories, to be released as a ebook, and "Aunt Olga and the Werewolf" will be included in the third Creatures, Crimes and Creativity anthology release by Intrigue Publishing. at their conference in October.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Critique Groups

The Guppies are a constant source of help and support. I’ve made use of online critique groups and the opportunity to swap manuscripts. However and possibly because I wasn’t born into the digital age with a cell phone attached to my head like a third ear, I learn more from in-person critique groups. There’s no substitute for facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. They make it so much easier to judge the most relevant criticism for my work and the general interest level in what I’ve written.

Here I’ll put in a plug for Seascape Writers Retreat that I attended this past weekend. I learned more in three days than I’d learn in a year of online feedback. It’s not the messenger but the medium. Some writers brought first drafts and they felt the feedback they received helped them deepen their characters and plot. Other first drafters changed their protagonists and villains. I think it makes sense to have feedback from the start unless you don’t mind stumbling in the dark for years or you produce almost perfect drafts the first time. Even writers who presented stories they’d been working on for months or years felt they learned from all the feedback they received.

I recognize that’s my opinion. Have you had a critique group that’s made all the difference to your writing?butterf5

8 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

I've had the exact opposite experience Pauline. My in-person writers group bombed. The problem was that the only group I found were male sci fi writers, which shouldn't have made a difference, but I could tell that no one really was reading my stuff. My online group (Guppies) are so more helpful, into my genre (even if mine is mixed), and positive. I feel the same way about my online short story group as well-so much better. Perhaps the in-person group and I just weren't well suited. I'm so gald you have good support where you live.

Pauline Alldred said...

Sci Fi is so different from mystery, Elaine. I guess we just have to search until we find the group where we click.

HSS said...

All my Guppies critique groups have been excellent. My first and last in person critique was horrible. But it drove me to find writing classes. In those classes I found the type of feed back you're talking about. I'd have to say that it's not whether it's in person or not, but how well it's done.

Leslie said...

Used to be part of a great group, but I moved away. Haven't been able to duplicate it and have had bad experiences with other groups since.

Pauline Alldred said...

Hi HSS and Leslie, it seems a writer has to search for the most helpful group and then it's so hard to leave that group. An unhelpful group,I think, is less than nothing.

Katherine said...

I agree with you. I prefer in-person critiquing. It could be because I had such a great first experience and haven't been able to duplicate it since. My former critique partner and I would meet one evening each week at our local Barnes & Noble for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, she sent a query letter to an agent, received a "good story, but not what I'm looking for right now" rejection letter. With that one letter, she stopped writing completely, saying she couldn't handle the rejections sure to come in the future. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't convince her it was just one person's opinion. Not long after that, she moved and we lost touch.

Pauline Alldred said...

That is too bad, Katherine. Rejection is hard to take but maybe writers have to recover from the first one and grow a thicker skin.

Warren Bull said...

I've had a variety of experiences. The best group I ever attended was by invitation only. I had to submit a sample and be voted in. It was a no-holds-barred critique group: not for the faint of heart. But everyone in it wrote seriously and critiqued seriously. Other face to face groups have been helpful to some degree. I think if requires a match of skill levels and personalities which is hard to find. I also like and benefit from Guppies on-line groups.