Before You Join a Critique Group…

Joining a critique group can help a writer grow to the next level, which is why most writers want to be a part of at least one group. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know if you’ll have a good fit with a group until you’ve tried it out, but there are some questions you can ask yourself to help prevent a bad match.

Sometimes writers jump into a crit group for the wrong reasons and are disappointed or even discouraged when they don’t get what they expected out of the group. A part of the problem can be the wrong match between the writer and the group, but occasionally, the difficulty stems from a writer who’s not prepared for criticism of their masterpiece.

Decide if you’re ready for a critique group by asking these questions:

-Why do you want to join a critique group?
-Are you looking for someone to praise your writing?
-Are you ready to be told your writing needs improvement?
-Can you use constructive criticism as a guide to help you better edit your manuscript?
-Do you have a good enough understanding of your story to know when you’re being offered advice that won’t work?
-Are you in love with your words and refuse to make any changes?
-Are you prepared to take some of the suggestions and leave the rest?

Just because you’re ready to become a member of a critique group doesn’t mean the first one you come across will be the one for you. Choose a critique group based on your answers to the following questions:

-What are the rules to the group?
-Does their schedule work with yours?
-Will you be able to receive as much as you give? (Some critique groups require you to crit a few chapters before you’re permitted to post one of your own.)
-Are the other writers working in the same genre as you? If not, do they have an understanding of your genre?
-What writing level(s) do the other members fall under? Is there a mixture of beginners, intermediates, and advanced writers? Or is everyone along the same level? Are you truly at this level?
-How many members are in this group? Would you feel more comfortable with a small group or a large one?

There are no wrong or right answers to the above questions, only honest answers that’ll help you know what kind of critique group you want to be a part of before you begin your search.

Do you have any questions or suggestions to add to this list that will help someone decide on a critique group?

I belong to a critique group that’s been revamped. Our members must remain active or their membership will be revoked. Being active means critiquing and/or participating in discussions. No lurking allowed.

At the moment, we have 16 members, but not all these members will critique. For example, I won’t be critiquing. I do enough of that in my day job as a freelance editor. LOL However, I participate in the discussions.

We have openings. If you’re looking for a critique group, contact me at and request an invite to Writers on Writing. This is the perfect time to join since many of the members are new to the group. Come on. You know you want to…

Lynnette Labelle

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