Posted by: nancyisanders | May 24, 2010

Critique Groups Prepare Us

I admit it…it’s hard to take my “baby” to a critique group and get feedback on it that certain portions just don’t seem to work.

After all, I want everyone to love my “baby” and say “oooh” and “aaah” with smiles of delight lighting up their face.

But taking our manuscripts to our critique groups meeting after meeting after meeting actually prepares us for the day we submit them to an editor. If an editor gets back to us and says she loved the manuscript except for certain parts and asks us to revise it according to her suggestions, we’ll be better equipped to respond! We’ll already have practice receiving suggestions from our writer friends, so when an editor gives us feedback, we’ll just see it as par for the course.

I have met some writers who will not attend writers groups. They say that they do not like getting feedback from others. They want to prepare their manuscripts from beginning to end exactly as they feel it should be.

I wonder how these writers respond to the feedback from editors.

In today’s world, if we want to be published, it helps if we are able to view our project as a team effort. The people in our critique groups are part of our team, helping us prepare our manuscript for submission. Editors are part of our team, helping us prepare our manuscript for publication.

If we view our critique groups, both the positive and negative feedback we receive, as good things along our journey, we’ll be better prepared to work with editors when our manuscript gets closer to publication.


Responses

  1. I have just received Nancy”s book (Yes! You Can…) for my birthday and have been wondering about these groups to go to.

    I do not know if they exist around here, and I do not know if I would appreciate one!

    I haven’t had any remarks from a publisher up to now, but I only had kids’ books published.

    I sometimes ask my mother to read and she is a fantastic critic even at the age of 80! But it is very hard on me at first! I need to adapt to her critiques!!

    • Nicole, I’m so excited you got my book for your birthday. Happy birthday! To help find groups near you, check at http://www.scbwi.org and look for your local regions. Happy writing! -Nancy

  2. Thank you Nancy, but I live close to Paris in France!
    I am half way through your book and starting to have a very bad conscious about all the time I do nothing!!! Must get to work!!

    I have my first english book coming out on the first on june. The second one in september.
    I am so pleased…
    My other books are all in french.
    I am willing to climb the steps…
    Get to be published for older children then older people…
    Thank you for your enthusiasme and for sharing your experience!
    Nicole

    • Congratulations on your published successes, Nicole! And guess what? SCBWI is an international organization! Also, check out the National Writing for Children Center because there are writers with that group who are in online critique groups and have members all around the world such as Brussels and Canada. -Nancy

  3. Thanks for this post, Nancy.
    It’s hard the first couple of times to hear what your critique group may say about your book, but it gets easier each time. Your group is there to critique your story to make it the best it can be, not to attack you. You have the choice to make or not make the changes suggested.
    A group is so much better than just another set of eyes. One person may pick up what others have not. Also if one person suggests making a change, you may have some hesitation, However if several people in your group suggest the same changes, you know that you should revise that part of your story.
    You need to find a good group though if you want to improve your craft. If you are in a group that loves everything you write, and they don’t give feedback on the story and the technical aspects, you should find another group.

    • Thanks so much for sharing, Betsy! I especially like how you explain how a group is so much better than just one set of eyes. That is so true! -Nancy


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