Ideas to Improve Your Writer’s Group

Jordan Dane

Shutterstock photo purchased by TKZ

Shutterstock photo purchased by TKZ

On the topic of what our members would like to see covered at TKZ, Frances asked about Writers’ Groups.

“I’d like to see a blog on Writer’s Groups. I belong to one that is disappointing in structure and leadership. What are the qualifications for starting a writer group and what should be included? I prefer a group that meets in person versus online. Thanks!” Frances

As for qualifications to start a group, I’ve seen ANYONE create a group if there is interest in your local area. My latest adventure to find a local writer’s group where I live was through special interest groups listed on (query your local area for “Meetups” and “writing groups”). But these groups are rarely organized well enough to hold my interest for long. The leadership is usually inflexible on format or control the critique process too much. Often it’s the blind leading the blind and comments don’t further anyone’s potential career. These groups may catch typos but higher level reviews of your work are rare.

For more serious endeavors, a local group can collect dues and hold writing contests (with members as judges) to generate revenue, but once you ask for money, members will expect a plan of action and organization with regular meetings and a plan. Many national professional groups have specific rules to adhere to, if you want to open a local chapter. Toward the end of this post, look for a link of writers’ groups that are broken down at various levels you might find useful. Try joining a local chapter of a bigger organization if it’s available in your area. That’s your best bet.

I believe it takes a combination of groups to expand your horizons. I’ve belonged to quite a few writers’ groups, from national professional organizations, to online subgroups, to local writer meetings, to attending workshops. I’ve spoken at various meetings and workshops on craft and attended local meetings to help critique other authors. And I was also the Program Director for 5 years at my local Oklahoma Romance Writers of America (OKRWA) chapter and had a hand in shaping our resources for published and aspiring authors. This group and the strength and generosity of its published authors got me published. I was an aspiring author, untested, but I took on the duty of Program Director because I could create a network of contacts I wanted to see and I could work with my published authors to provide things they wanted to see. A great volunteer opportunity.

Here are my thoughts on what makes an effective group, depending on how organized you want to be or how much money you have to put together a group on your own.

SIZE MATTERS – I’ve worked with local groups who have an open call to anyone wanting to attend from one week to the next. The usual format is determined by those in attendance reading from their current WIP, sometimes up to 10 pages, and everyone around the room comments. In my opinion, this type of format doesn’t work because the attendees are not consistent and the format never changes. No real discussion happens, even when the group seems to want a diversion, because there are too many people vying for attention for their work.

When I say size matters, I think it’s more important to recruit serious/dedicated writers that have the same work ethic and are determined to improve their craft. (I’m not implying all pubbed authors, but writers dedicated to improving themselves.) 3-5 members might be the ideal. With a limited, devoted group who consistently appear each meeting, there can be real focus on each other’s samples and the meeting framework can be adapted to the goals of the group. If a deeper discussion arises organically, the group can be more flexible in how any meeting will evolve. Don’t be afraid to start out with all novices. A novice one day, with a good work ethic and supportive of other members, could be a future published author. My first groups weren’t always successful but I learned something worthwhile from each one. Sometimes you have to dive in and take charge to define what you want in a group.

YOU CONTROL THE FRAMEWORK – You might like reading your current WIP aloud or have someone else in the group read yours. But instead of taking up valuable time in the meeting doing this, try some of these time savers:

A.) Maintain an online group to exchange notices and post resources. Post your WIPs that will be critiqued for the next meeting. You can post them to a file section (like a private Yahoo or Google Group or a private Facebook Group). Your 4 members will have more time to read in advance and provide commentary in “track changes mode” for the author to take home something legible. So when it comes time for giving feedback, each member can focus on the highlights of their verbal critique and ask open ended questions of the author to promote a discussion at a higher level.

B.) Limit how many pages are critiqued or read aloud.

C.) Allow time for craft discussion at each meeting. Any member could lead the topic from craft books or a general chat on what works or doesn’t work for each person in the group.

BREAK UP MONOTONY WITH RESEARCH – Bring up research topics that could help the group or inspire future stories. As Program Director for the OKRWA, I had to fill each month with a 1-hour presentation that would help aspiring authors as well as published writers. Some months were research topics where we brought in speakers from the fire or police dept, an FBI profiler, a ghost hunting team (usually in October for paranormal story inspirations), or we went on field trips to generate story ideas with firsthand experiences. For example, we each paid money to go on a ghost hunt, guided by a real team of ghost hunters. (You really get to know your group by doing scaring the hell out of them.)

WHAT ABOUT A RETREAT? Usually in July, we would take a retreat together. Yes, this costs money and organization. We would have sessions on world building or various craft topics. or we might break down a larger group into smaller ones to have brainstorming sessions on plot ideas. A published author group might take a fun trip away from home to a nice location. They work the first few days on brainstorming TWO plots for each author and record the sessions, but after the hard work is done, they go have fun. Sign me up. The group gets a jump on plots for the year and get time off for fun to replenish the creative well.

DO SOME GROUP MEMBERS NEED PROMO? Promotion for published authors is important to support them. For pubbed authors who appreciated help on local events–from Valentine’s Day Events at local libraries to quarterly book signings–my Oklahoma writers’ group would support our members by organizing or attending these events. One of our bigger events was a Librarian Tea. We’d pick a venue and pay for beverages and snacks/desserts (or you could do something more casual with potluck). This can be done economically, but my local group had membership dues and revenues from writing contests to support our annual programs. At the Librarian Tea, our pubbed authors got to meet local librarians and book store owners, where their upcoming releases or backlist would be showcased. Our local group would also send out postcards and flyers of new releases from our members to those same librarians and book store owners we were developing relationships with. Even aspiring authors could benefit from this when they eventually sold and had book signings of their own.

FACETIME or ONLINE? I like getting together with my local writer groups. Writing can be solitary enough. Commiserating with my fellow crazies can be fun. But if there are no local groups where you are, an online group can give you resources in a different way. Once you develop a trust with your online members and determine if their input will help you, exchanging writing samples for critique can be done online. Often these groups have a files section with craft or promo topics that can be helpful or they may host an annual conference or hold workshops.

Here is a LINK to many writer groups (from national, to professional, to genre, to local groups) that you might find helpful.

For Discussion:

1.) What works best in writing groups from your experience? From size to format?

2.) Do writing groups help or hinder the writing process?


If you are interested in receiving a FREE pdf file of my upcoming Amazon Kindle Worlds release (July 21)–REDEMPTION FOR AVERY–in exchange for an honest review on Amazon, please click on this LINK to sign up on my Google Docs form. Next to your review name, please add TKZ.

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About Jordan Dane

Bestselling, critically-acclaimed author Jordan Dane’s gritty thrillers are ripped from the headlines with vivid settings, intrigue, and dark humor. Publishers Weekly compared her intense novels to Lisa Jackson, Lisa Gardner, and Tami Hoag, naming her debut novel NO ONE HEARD HER SCREAM as Best Books of 2008. She is the author of young-adult novels written for Harlequin Teen, the Sweet Justice thriller series for HarperCollins., and the Ryker Townsend FBI psychic profiler series, Mercer's War vigilante novellas, and the upcoming Trinity LeDoux bounty hunter novels set in New Orleans. Jordan shares her Texas residence with two lucky rescue dogs. To keep up with new releases & exclusive giveaways, click HERE

29 thoughts on “Ideas to Improve Your Writer’s Group

  1. I’m not sure how I feel about writers groups these days. I definitely think they can be successful, but only with a lot of work on everyone’s part. Back in 2004 I couldn’t find a local writer’s group so I put out a notice to meet at the public library and I think 10 people showed up, which was good.

    As you can imagine, some didn’t stay long–the ones who thought writing books sounded good but they weren’t ready to make the commitment. Over the course of time there were some other comes and goes. Fast forward 12 years later. We exist in name, but for all intents & purposes the group is now dissolved. Stuff happened–people moved, life intervened, etc.

    I have often wondered if part of the reason the group didn’t survive is that it was not aimed at a specific genre. We critiqued everything–fiction of all genres, poetry, non-fiction.

    I also wondered if part of the reason was that we were made up of a group of un-published souls. While never literally expressed, I’m sure there lurks in the mind a question of “can I really trust the feedback I’m getting?”

    And if you’re going to lead a writer’s group, be prepared for all the work that comes with it. People lead busy lives and while someone may step in and help here and there, mostly the burden is yours as “owner” of the group. At the height of the group, we submitted say 10-15 pages 2 weeks ahead of time and everyone brought their crits to the meeting.

    I would be very selective about entering a writers group again, and I would most likely do it online. Meeting in person just doesn’t fit with my overloaded lifestyle.

    For those of you who are/were in writers groups, were your groups tailored to a specific genre or two? I’d really like to know.

    • Great input, BK. In my experience, genre differences weren’t a problem. I do like the idea that a laser focus on genre can strenghten a group but as time goes on, writers change what they write or try writing more than one genre. Then a genre specific group can become irrelevant to some members because the rules aren’t flexible enough.

      You bring up an excellent point about poetry & non-fiction. Nothing kills momentum faster than mixing those elements into a fiction writing group. I’ve experienced this in my local groups, and despite many objections from a majority, leaders often didn’t want to offend anyone and allowed poetry especially. None of the members felt as if they had any expertise to critique it but everyone tried. As more poets came, I dropped out. The split focus killed it.

      It always helps to have good feedback on your submitted work and not just line edits. Sometimes larger groups can help you find good people who can critique well, from line edits to higher level craft points. It would be like auditioning or taking future members of a smaller group on a test drive.

      But if a group of aspiring authors does not allow meeting format time for craft topics, I don’t believe the group can grow technically. In lieu of speakers, members can select passages from good craft books to read and discuss for a portion of the meeting time. Or “homework” assignments can be given on the topic and discussed.

      Thanks, BK.

  2. I’ve only belonged to one ‘face to face’ writing group, and members wrote everything from poetry to memoir. We met twice a month, and all of the other women in the group modeled our process after classes they were taking at a local college. However, rules for a class of 20+ people don’t always carry over to a group of six. I was a green newbie then, and I needed more input than their system allowed. However, I got a lot out of those sessions, and I think we went through three of my novels before the group disbanded.
    I found on line groups helpful, but the ones I belonged to then were a very mixed bag in skill level. (The moderator told me not have anything else bad happen to Sarah, my heroine.)

    Now, I’m in an on line group that’s been working together for maybe 10 years? Yikes — I’d need to go look that up. We do everything electronically–one of us in in England, the other in Chicago, and I’m out in the boonies in Colorado. We are very flexible with our submission rules; if someone has a deadline (like me right now), they’ll dive into far more than our usual 2 chapters/week guidelines.

    Now (and for the past

    • Great stuff, Terry. I am pretty quick to assess whether a group will work for me or not. Maybe that comes with experience and confidence over time so there is nothing wrong with trying a few on for size and take what works to your next group to fine tune what works. Technically, face time isn’t required but some like the camaraderie.

      Another thing is getting all your work read fast enough, for a working author with deadlines. A group may not work unless its2 small and everyone understands their part. Thanks, Terry.

  3. You also mentioned the technique of reading your work aloud in group and having people critique it. I’ve never been in a group who did that and I never would–for two reasons. First, as a critiquer, I need to see the words in print, to read and absorb them. Someone verbally reading their story to me would be helped or hindered by their speaking style, and I don’t think that’s helpful.

    Also, I don’t imagine I’m the only person who needs to read and critique something ahead of time. Having someone read to me on the spot and expect that I provide an insightful crit just isn’t gonna happen. Just like I never think of good come-backs until after the situation is over, I couldn’t come up with instant insightful crit ideas, and the writer would be short-changed.

    • I hear you on reading aloud. Many groups think this is what they need but a quick read on the fly doesn’t always catch the higher level issues, especially when different people critique the work over months. The continuity is lost and unless a reader has a great memory, characterization and plot inconsistencies are missed. That’s what I’ve seen. Thanks for your continued input, BK.

  4. I’ve been looking to join a writer’s group because I have no friends in meat world who write. Here’s two group options from my location:

    Some of us participate in a group that meet once a month for critique sessions and discussions. This group was formed from this Meetup’s old Build a Book Club. While a few of us have near complete manuscripts that are ready to be shared, others are taking some time off to work on new writing projects. We will be taking a few new members into our critique group this fall. We are looking for writers who are well underway with a body of work and motivated to refine writing in collaboration with others. We have a simple rule in our group: In order to receive feedback you MUST critique others’ submissions a month in advance. From there on, you’ll continue to critique and be critiqued. This is why we work best with people who have a project half-completed or near completion. We are actively shaping each other’s work and the dynamic works best for people who need rewrites, polishing, or fresh feedback to keep going on something already established. We do accept writers of all genres, including short stories. Just make sure you have a decent-size collection of short stories if you’d like to be a part of the group.

    Some things to consider:

    – We meet monthly on Mondays from 7 to 9:30pm in South Beach.

    – In order to minimize the time we spend discussing each manuscript during our live meetings, we share our work online in advance via Google docs.

    – Our average submissions are 5,000 – 7,000 words long, which is why you come in with work underway.

    – Our goal is to help each other display a vision. The critique is about story, technique, and structure, and less about style, although some always gets discussed. We want to help writers write their story better, not write a story our way.

    Should you be interested we ask:

    Be committed to spending at least a year with the group. We ask that you adhere to all online deadlines and make most (and we mean “most”) face-to-face meetings.

    Understand the balance required when challenging someone to improve art. Be open-hearted and curious. Have plenty of fun along the way.

    Email us a short bio on yourself including what your style is, what your personal goals are as a writer, and what you hope to obtain from the group. We’ll get back to you with the details.


    Some of us were born with loud voices and big ideas–born with versatile fingers that nimbly maneuver between quill and scroll, pen and paper. A beautiful quality emerges when these characteristics converge with expressions of empowerment and purpose. This group is designated for those awakened people who are willing to answer the call of transformational and creative writing, and contributing in a spiritually awakened, positive, supportive and nurturing atmosphere. Explore empowering themes through the written word and make new friends. Come together for fun events to learn, socialize and share both your perspectives and your written work.

    About Our Members:

    Don’t just join because you want to practice writing. Join because you want to practice growing. The ideal member of this group nurtures a powerful perspective of love, joy, gratitude, wisdom, balance and positivity. He or She fosters an interest in freedom consciousness and holistic living.

    Thinking About Joining?

    Please consider your decision because our members must be ready to uphold the values of Prose Over Woes. We aren’t like every other writing group. Prose Over Woes is a community which favors:

    Wisdom Over Ignorance.

    Discernment Over Judgement.

    Love Over Fear.

    Kindness Over Cruelty.

    Light Over Darkness.

    Faith Over Worry.

    We are a group who will support courage and help to nurture trust in the journey. Because the intention behind this group is more about growth and true friendship than large membership numbers, the plan is to cap membership at 50.


    The former seems reasonable. I get the sense these people are serious about craft and require the same in new members, which is what I want. Rigor and real criticism are essential.

    The latter seems like the highest virtue of the group is not to offend and to make sure everyone feels like they’re in a giant safe space shielded from judgment of any kind. How can progress be achieved by writers in a perpetual hugbox?

      • Completely agree, Sheryl. 50 is huge. Way too much but I bet the majority would rarely show up. Regardless, active members are important but the format has to change to make a group that large work.

  5. Greetings, Mighty. Wow. A great way to present two very different perspectives. I agree with your assessment. I would choose option 1 for me as well. Group 2 sounds a little overwritten and elitist for my taste.

    Although I do like every group to be nurturing and supportive. Aspiring authors need to gain confidence and develop a thick skin during the process of developing their voice.

    Thanks for contributing your options, M.

  6. Maybe it was because I was watching Dr. Phil this morning with my coffee, but I am seeing the writers group problem thru the lens of good families vs dysfunctional families. The dynamics are similar — good families are close, support each other, share goals and ideals, make room for strengths and weaknesses and are open and honest. Bad families are…well, just the opposite, and usually powered by ego.

    I have been lucky to be part of a stellar writers group for two years now, and I came into it when another person had to drop out so the format was well established. There are four of us (and a fifth when she can make time from a demanding job). Three of us are published, the third is still trying. We all write in the same genre but at times have submitted work outside crime fiction. We meet twice a month at a coffee/lunch place. We allow ten minutes or so to gossip and gab then we get to work. We submit our pages (limit 10-12) beforehand and we all mark the pages up with Track Changes, so each of us goes home with three different “written” critiques. BUT: the good stuff happens in person because we all talk about the particular problems in our samples. Occasionally, a member might not have pages but just asks for brainstorming help on a plot. We don’t copy-edit; the focus is always on big issues like plot structure, character, pacing, dialogue. It’s important, I think, to be able to articulate your points in person because just seeing a marked-up chapter can be off-putting and sometimes your point doesn’t come across clearly or with kindness.

    I know I am darn lucky to have this support; they have helped me immensely and we have all come to cherish the friendship this has created as well. I dedicated my last book to them, they were that instrumental in its completion. I know how hard it is to find good people like this. If you are looking to join a group, I would recommend:

    Fiction only. Non-fiction is its own realm; ditto poetry
    Keep the number of participants small. 4-5, I’d say.
    Regular meetings, preferably with face time. (Could you do a critique group via Skype or meeting software?)
    Focus on big issues only. No nit picking semi-colons and such.
    If people are mean-spirited, petty, or stuck in “it’s all a conspiracy to keep us out” run as fast as you can. (Like any writer needs bad mood enhancers?)

    I wish you luck, Frances!

  7. I’ve been in three writers groups over the years. Two of them were poorly organized and followed the read-alound-then-critique method. That never worked for me because I am a severe stutterer and cannot read a manuscript out loud. I always had to ask someone else to read it for me. That did help me a bit because hearing your stuff read aloud helps to catch awkward sentences and such. But we were all wannabes and the critiques were not very helpful.

    The third group consisted of four of us who left one of the other groups to form our own. We met once a week and emailed our pages to each other so our meeting time could be spent discussing each other’s work. That was much better. We were all about the same writing level and the comments were very helpful. Unfortunately, life intervened for each of us and we disbanded after a year. I have not yet looked for another group. Maybe I will now after reading this post.

    • Even after my years of writing experiences, I can honestly say that a good writing group made a huge difference in getting me published and opening my mind to craft tools. I don’t always belong to a group now but I reach out every now and then, and would love to find a group like Kris (P J) mentioned.

      • Hey, if you ever find yourself in south Florida Jordan, you’re welcome to join us for a session. It’s fun and the place where we meet has great tuna sandwiches.

  8. I belong to the New England Chapter of MWA and Sisters in Crime, but it seems no one has writers’ groups in my area. They’re all on the seacoast and I’m in the mountains/lakes region. Same thing with Meetups. If I could find one closer, I’d love it. But alas, I don’t think in its the cards.

    Really looking forward to reading Redemption for Avery. I added my name to your list. Thanks, Jordan!

  9. I’ve been involved in 2 different groups, one lead by a professional writer with a focus on memoirs and “cozy” non-fiction, the other by an English professor with a focus on fiction writing. The first one I left after only a few meetings as it became obvious the group was only being used as a mechanism to get people to spend money on the leader’s services (proof-reading, critique, etc.) – very disappointing.

    The second group was better but the focus was too broad, in my opinion. We were all writing fiction but no one was writing in the same genre, similar to what BK said above. My writing of choice has been modern fantasy, another writer was halfway through an historical fiction book, a lovely older woman was writing a children’s book and another guy was writing experimental wackiness (very well, too. IMO, he had the most potential.) We passed out our WIPs at the end of meetings and reviewed them the next week, 2 reviews to a session.

    Meetings were always fun and some of the writing was spectacular but I’m not sure how much good it did any of us, other than the moral support for this crazy thing we were doing. Our leader was a great guy with several short story pubs but he leaned heavily towards literary works, something none of us were working in, and he had a bit of a down against commercial authors, like Steven King or James Patterson. When it was suggested they must be doing something right for people to buy them, a semi-nasty tirade about commercialism vs. “Art” ensued. It eventually led to the group breaking up. Amicably, but we definitely weren’t on the same page, so to speak.

    So I suggest that the goals of the group, such as writing for self or writing to make a living, should also be considered.

    • Great advice, Sharie. Thanks for the good examples you’ve experienced. I’m really seeing how important it can be to have members write under a certain umbrella of genre. So much depends on leadership.

      I can see how the broader umbrella of crime fiction can effectively cover all subgenres under that.

  10. I have belonged to a wonderful writers’ group for about eight years. We meet once a week. Each person brings something to read aloud and gives the others a paper copy for taking notes. Long pieces are emailed ahead. Full book manuscripts get their own meeting over dinner. In the beginning the group had seven or eight members and we took turns giving our comments. It was definately the blind leading the blind but we shared craft books and articles and a few times got published authors in to talk to us and slowly improved. a couple of years ago several people left and now there are four of us and it really works better. We sit around a table with coffee and really buckle down. The most useful insights come out of the discussion, so that four people together are much more productive than four taken separately. We are all working on our second or third novels. The other three have published tradtionally and recently on Amazon. I’m the only one who still hasn’t felt ready to try. I’ve learned a lot from this group and they have become dear friends. Thank you for this post and for many interesting ideas.

  11. How timely! I belong to a local writer’s group where I bring the average age down by 2-3 years.

    I’ve just been elected co-president (I work full-time so we’re spreading the president’s work between two people) and the thing I consistently heard within the group after the AGM was around critiquing: we don’t critique nearly enough (with many members not knowing how!).

    But there are so many more issues that I think are holding us back.

    As far as reading our WIPs… it doesn’t happen. I don’t think anyone knows what anyone else is writing or if other members have had books published, unless you’ve been there for a long time.

    All organisation for the next month (homework, speakers, and competitions) was done at the committee meeting the month before, maybe two months before . A lot of that came down to poor planning, but also varying agendas within the committee- some wanted X, others wanted Y, and a few others wanted Z.

    The format’s never changed month-to-month: homework read aloud, topic of the month, afternoon tea, then a bit of free-writing on the month’s topic. There’s been little variation from that.

    There are only a handful of members who belong to social media sites, and some have only just gotten started on email.

    And the vast majority of our members are over the age of 65. There are probably 4-5 members who are younger than 65, but over 40, and two who are in their 30s (me and one other).

    I think the main issue boils down to no one knows what they want from the group, and not asking hard questions from those running the group. It’s something we’re aiming to rectify, but it won’t be done overnight.

    We’ve got a great, thriving group with talented members but I feel like we’re lost at sea, just drifting aimlessly right now. Hopefully, this year we’ll get a number of those issues sorted.

    • If your group is larger, you could hold monthly presentations on craft, social media, promotion, self publishing, research, genre, world building, etc. Tons of interesting subject that most writers would like. Make it of interest for aspiring authors as well as for pubbed authors.

      Have those members who like feedback on their WIPs, let them meet on their own for critiques, or allow time at the end of your meeting for members to break into smaller genre groups.

      Retreats and special research trips (with cost paid by participants) can be a good way to infuse excitement.

      The older age of your membership could define what might excite them, but when I was Program Director, I met with all the members to get their candid take on what they would like to see. I surveyed our published members via email to get their private input and good things came of that.

      I wish you luck in your new position. This could be mercenary, but sometimes if you can’t get full participation or input, trust your instincts to make decisions. If YOU eould benefit from something, odds are that others would like it too.

  12. My writers group, the Authors of the Flathead, has been going strong for more than 25 years with 75-100 dues-paying members. We sponsor a student writing contest with cash prizes, an annual conference, and hold meetings three times a month with a rotating schedule of craft lectures, guest speakers, and open readings. Additionally, satellite critique groups meet regularly. Because the community is small, there aren’t enough people to form genre-specific groups, except for a children’s group.

    We try to offer something for everyone at every level. Open readings work well for new writers and poets, but time limits (10 min. or 7 double-spaced pages) have to be strictly enforced to prevent frustrated actors from monopolizing the podium.

    CGs ebb and flow, with participants enthusiastic for several years, often through a book-length ms. Then health, relocations, work demands, etc. interfere. The group dissolves, and a few survivors reform with new people into a new group. The most successful ones I’ve been with involve writers with equal dedication, although not necessarily equal skill level. Most of my CGs have been face-to-face, although I have a few friends with whom I trade mss online.

    The size I’ve found most useful is 6-8 participants, with 10 to 20 pages submitted in advance to be marked up. Advance preparation is time-consuming, but not everyone submits every time b/c some are drafting, some are editing, some are between projects. Fewer than 5 or 6 tends to become incestuous, with members writing to please the group rather than for publication. Larger than that means not all submissions can be covered in one session (2-3 hours usually, every week or every other week).

    Finding compatible personalities w/o big egos is a challenge. There are people who simply will not accept criticism, no matter how gently it’s offered nor how many people tell them about the same recurring problems. Their words are solid gold. Run fast away from them.

    There are also people trying to work out psychological problems in writing, which may be good for their mental health, but not necessarily viable for publication. If you’re all aiming for publication, that will be a more constructive group than if one writer is (as a former critique partner put it) “bleeding on the page.”

    Set up guidelines in advance and adhere to them, but don’t be afraid to allow brainstorming and occasional tangents. When several creative brains work on the same problem, they always find multiple excellent solutions. My critique buddies have rescued me from many dead ends.

    I’m a big fan b/c for the most part my experiences have been with people of good will who genuinely want to help make each other’s work better. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky finding writing buddies who also became close trusted friends. Unfortunately, not everyone is as fortunate.

    • Great summary, Debbie. Your group sounds very dynamic & responsive to its members. Wow. 25 years is impressive. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I found my first group through my local Sisters in Crime–it has evolved over the years, but still going strong!

  14. Jordan,
    Thank you for an excellent and helpful article–a lot of good stuff to digest on writer critique groups. The Link will be a great resource also.

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