Pros and Cons of Critique Groups

Hey everyone! My first Newsletter is only a day or two away! In it I discuss what it feels like to share my writing with complete strangers. Also I give a little sneak peek of my current work in progress Lies of the Haven! Super excited! If you would like to sign up for my email newsletter please click here! Sign up will be about halfway down the page!

I also wanted to discuss a little bit about my experience with different kinds of critique groups and what I learned. They are listed out in pros and cons style.

Local Critique Group: 
We met on Meet-up. The meetings were in person and held every two weeks. Each person would read and critique ten pages of each other person’s writing. We had about five people participating.

Pros: I really enjoyed the chance to get out of the house and away from kids and interacting with other writers. We talked about our manuscripts but also other aspects of publishing and writing. I enjoyed seeing people’s physical reactions to my writing and the exposure to different genres.

Cons: The ten pages every two weeks was much too slow for me. For a manuscript that was over 300 pages, it would take more than a year to get through it all!  Also people would bail last minute and as I was the only person using a computer for my edits(everyone else made edits on printed copies), that meant I wouldn’t receive their edits from the past two weeks. I could go a month or more without feedback and by then I had moved on from that section of my story. Plus the printed copies meant I had multiple documents to reconcile. In the end the group was cancelled due to poor attendance. 

Online Critique Group:
Set up through a shared Google Docs folder, everyone went in after they received the link/invite, and set up their own authors folder where they could post whatever work they wanted. Each person would be scheduled a 4 day time slot where everyone else in the group would critique just that author’s work.

Pros: I received a lot of feedback at once from people with differing strengths from all around the world: some were good at grammar, others at tightening, and still others gave suggestions on plot details. I got to see what people really liked and what they didn’t. Because they all commented on one document, I had everything in one place.

Cons: Because it was online, I didn’t have a physical group to interact with so, no getting out of the house away from kids. While I really enjoyed the people in this group, it quickly grew too large and I found myself waiting for several months for my turn to come up again. And my goals required that I move faster than was possible.

Online Critique Partner:
Last but not least I tried a critique partner. We exchanged four chapters of our work every week and critiqued each other’s writing.

Pros:This worked really well for me. We moved faster, and we were both dedicated to doing our share to make each other’s writing better. I received in depth analysis and feedback that helped improve my story and writing.

Cons:The obvious con here was I only got one person’s perspective. I also needed to remember we were both aspiring writers which meant we each had our own weaknesses. While I appreciated and used a lot of her input, neither of us were professional editors.

In order to receive the most comprehensive feedback I used a combination, with mixed results. But every little bit helped and I appreciated all the feedback, big and small I received so far! 

I’m now thinking about starting my own online critique group of no more than 8 people. That way I can get multiple perspectives but also timely feedback. Hopefully the best of both worlds!

Word Count Madness

Alright guys, I know this may be an accomplishment that only writers can understand but I feel like someone needs to celebrate with me! I have been working on my YA novel Lies of the Haven, which I am super excited about sharing with you by the way, but I felt my word count was way too high. When I neared completion, it was at 97,000 words and I wanted to get it below 80,000.

So I started editing, cutting all the excess fluff and tightening my sentences. With just that, my word count dropped to 89,000 words. Then I started cutting a few scenes that weren’t as integral to the story as I originally thought and my word count dropped to 85,000. Then I took out a chapter that I loved.

And I cried.

As I continued to edit, I got my word count down to 78,000 but I just couldn’t take the agony and put my beloved chapter back in. My word count shot back up to over 80,000. Slowly, very slowly, with more editing and tightening, I have finally gotten my manuscript to drop to 79,000 words.

Success! While I am still in the editing process and hope to drop my word count by even more, I ‘m just so happy I reached my goal! It has taken a lot of work! For all those writers out there, you know what I am talking about! And for those who aren’t writers and just want to feel good about someone’s achievement, celebrate with me!

Coming Newsletter

Hey guys! So my first Newsletter should be coming out about mid-December. I have decided to chronicle my publishing journey. I hope to share with you my ups and downs, triumphs and woes. Also I hope you will learn a lot of insights into the publishing process! You can learn more about the resources out there, and learn from all of my horrible mistakes! Haha!

The topic of my first newsletter will be on writing and critique groups. I will share the ins and outs of how that can be possible both locally and online, as well as the pluses and minuses of both. Can’t wait!

Oh and I forgot! If you see this post and want to sign up for the Newsletter, click Here to go to my main page and sign up! Only your email is needed! Thanks!