Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Writer Group Etiquette

You’ve written a novel, now what? For me the answer to that question was to learn more about the process of writing for teens and what it would take to develop my story into something others would want to read. To do this I joined a critique group.

By the time I wrote Embrace, I had the basic steps for writing a novel down. I had a beginning, middle and end. There was mystery, various plot threads each of which were important to the story, and my protagonist grew and changed during the course of the novel. But I’d been writing long enough to know the importance of sharing my work with my critique partners. I knew their comments would allow me to see my story in a new light.

I value the opinion of my critique partners. I learn as much from listening to their critique of my work as I do from participating in critiquing their pages. For any group to work there has to be a give and take.  

Below are a few tips to get the most from any critique.

Tips on giving critiques:
Sandwich your comments
   - Begin with positive thoughts.
   - Offer constructive criticism in a helpful and respective manner.
   - End with positive comments of encouragement.
When offering suggestion, be specific.
    - Provide examples.
    - Ask what if.
    - Would the character…
Don’t rewrite the story to your personal taste.

Tips on receiving critiques:
Listen and takes notes.
Ask questions whenever you’re unclear as to what was said.
Avoid being defensive. Remember your critique partners are critiquing your story, not you.


  1. Great article and I couldn't agree more. Seeing the story through someone elses perspective really helps clean up some of the issues that are obvious to the author but might not be so for the reader. Thanks for sharing.