Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Resources Part Three: Critique Groups

I personally have a love/hate relationship with Critique Groups and Writers' Groups. When I lived on the other side of the mountain, I attended three groups and I loved them all. The first on was a sit-your- ass-in-a-chair-and-write group, the second was a-get-your-mind-working and workshop group, and the other was an editing group. What I loved about these groups were they had a variety of people and no one had the 'I'm better than you' attitude, the second group I attended with a traditionally published author. I remembering being in awe that she was so down to earth and willing to help aspiring authors. Those are the kind of people you want to find in a group, people who are willing to help and treat you as if you are on the same level as them. Each person has their strengths and their weaknesses, and you want a group to play off those.

Now that I'm on this side of the mountain I have yet to find a group I like. I attended one that was completely focused on doing things through a vanity press, which wasn't the way I wanted to go. Everyone there was so scared of rejections that they hadn't bothered to finish a project or get one into someone else's hands. The second group I attended had a few published authors in it, and though they tried to be encouraging, when you asked for help they acted like they were too good for the unpublished members. The third is one that I currently attend and it has been interesting. Though I did get feed back, it was in a snarky and asinine way. Those are things you don't want. You don't want feed back that comes from someone who is being a jerk, it is possible to give constructive feedback without being mean. You want a group that has similar goals to you, are they aiming to self-publish? Are they aiming for traditional? Both? What can you learn from everyone? And you don't want people who constantly think that they are better than you.

So, Critique Groups? A good resource if you can find the right fit. So look around and see if you can't find one. You might be surprised. I'm still searching for a good fit, but I also have a string of beta readers to help me out.

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