Monday, December 17, 2007

Creating a Critique Group

Dear Angel Writers,

Big news! Friday I had an e-mail from Becky at ARTichokes. You have read my mentions of ARTichokes before -- it's an "art space" -- offering art for sale, classes in a variety of arts, and party space. Becky gets things done. She asked me to do a class for them and by Saturday she had it posted on their January class listings at This is the perfect class for January. Actually, it is a Critique Group (fiction, nonfiction, poetry -- anything goes). So if you have writing you want to start in the new year, if you have writing that has stalled, if your writing needs direction or if you just like to hang out with writers, join us on January 8. We will be meeting for five weeks this session. See all the details on the class listings at

Maybe you would like to start a critique group of your own or join an existing group. Great idea! Here are the member attributes I would look for if I were joining a group:

1. Well read
2. Creative thinker
3. Sense of humor
4. Supportive
5. Honest

The members need to have read widely in all areas so they don't apply narrow restrictions. They have to appreciate and encourage your individual voice. They have to offer their comments with a light touch -- no pompous, self-important pronouncements. They need to be promptly present for the reading of other members' writing -- no showing up late or only when their work is read. And, of course, keeping in mind all of the above, they need to let you know what readers and publishers are looking for, and what in your writing is truly not working and what is truly wonderful.

Additionally, it helps if you have between six and 20 members, permission to bring in coffee or other drinks, good parking, and restrooms.

Enrich your life. Enrich your writing. Start a critique group -- or join mine.

And now -- because this blog strives to be useful -- and since I have just had lunch -- here is a Cooking Tip: Never stir your boiling soup with a disposable plastic spoon.