Nancy's Books

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Critique Groups Provide First-Aid for Writers

Since many students will soon be on a holiday break, I’m going to write about tips for writers in a series of three blogs that focus on critique groups.

You’ve pounded the keyboard day after day, week after week, creating your story. You’ve spit-shined the revisions, rearranged the sentences, and typed the last word. Now you’re ready to kiss your manuscript good-bye and ship it off to strangers, AKA editors.Not so fast! Mailing you’re manuscript at this time may be a little premature. Consider joining a critique group. Not only will group members view your work with new perspectives, they will also provide feedback, positive and negative. The critique group will hone in on areas of quality writing, praising your efforts, and will offer examples for improvement in areas that need revision.

I’ve been writing for publication for twenty years and have had thirteen picture books and one chapter book published. During that time, I completed revision after revision, relying on my skills, alone.

A couple of years ago I joined, via the Internet, a critique group composed of four children’s writers. In that short period, my critique group has provided professional input into picture and chapter book manuscripts, making each work stronger. This group completes line-by-line, in-depth critiques, rather than general overview critiques. For me, the more specific the evaluation, the better.

Next week, I'll provide specific detail as to how our group functions.

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