I'm not sure quite what to make of the group yet. I realize it's still too early to know how useful it'll be for me, but I do know a few things already . . .
I'm very green when it comes to knowing how to work in a critique group. Here at WWK we critique each others' blogs as a courtesy--to make sure our stuff is the best it can be--but it's not a full chapter's worth. Plus, I'm not the type of person who reads something with a critical eye. I don't sit there thinking "this character isn't well fleshed-out," or "there isn't enough description here for me to really know where the scene is at" when I stick my nose in a book. I prefer to become really engaged in the story, and to analyze it in that way would take me right out of the moment.
I clearly don't read as many YA books as the other members do. When giving their comments about a person's work, these women rattle off book titles and authors as references, sometimes three or four at a time. I've never heard of more than half of the books they recommend; ditto with the authors. I feel very inadequate when I hear them all discuss these authors.
Mine is the only mystery in the bunch. There are at least three dystopian, sci-fi stories in the group, a few normal teen angsty type books, where the main character has some serious emotional issues to work through, and mine. A couple authors weren't able to make it to this month's meeting, so the working members of the group might dwindle over time. But I do know that I'm the only mystery writer there.
The main problem here is that I don't read dystopian, or sci-fi, or teen angsty books myself. So I'm even more at a disadvantage when it comes to critiquing their work. Firstly, because I don't understand why these fictional worlds are in the state they're in (which I hope will be explained in later chapters), and secondly, because I'm so busy focusing on why the world is the way it is, that I'm paying even less attention to how real the characters, plot, or setting feel to me. I imagine the others feel the same way about my mystery.
I will say that I feel they gave some very useful feedback on my first chapter. Some of it I've heard before, and others I hadn't, but that helped me to think more deeply about my WIP. So, if I'm willing to work my way through stories that I don't normally read, I might learn quite a bit, about my writing, as well as the art of writing, itself.