“Finding friends to read through an entire novel might be tricky…” That was a comment from Pinar Tarhan on How to Ruin Your Novel. And it’s so true! But writers are terrible at judging their own work. Even if your friends and family do read your novel, chances are that they aren’t writers. They won’t be able to give you the best feedback.
If you have a critique group, you will be in much better shape. They will be more willing to read your stuff if you’re willing to do the same thing for them, and they will read your novel with a writer’s eyes.
So if you aren’t part of a critique group, what are the best ways to find one?
Take a Writing Class
Spend the money to take a class from your local community college. Most likely, your teacher will put you into critique groups, and you will get to know the people in your class, their writing style, and the ones you work well with. If things mesh, you can continue that writing group even after the class is over.
Attend Local Writing Conferences
Writing conferences are where lots of writers, agents, and editors, gather to attend writing workshops and classes. They hold these nationally, but the local ones will be better for finding a critique group. You’ll have a chance to meet other writers that live in your area. Here is a great website where you can search by region for local writing conferences.
Join an Online Critique Group
Though I recommend meeting in person, sometimes that’s just not an option. And online critique groups can be way helpful! You can post your work, a whole chunk or a piece at a time, and other online users will give you feedback. Don’t worry! Most of these sites will allow you to keep your copyright so that you can publish your work somewhere else.
Here are a few online critique groups I’ve found to be helpful:
- Internet Writing Workshop: Here you have to do a minimum amount of submissions and critiques of other people’s work per month to stay a member. People will always have motivation to critique your work! You’ll have to critique other people’s work, too, but that in itself can be really useful. Looking at new author’s writing and finding their mistakes can help you improve your own writing.
- Critique Circle: This is similar to the Internet writing workshop, but you don’t have to do a minimum number of submissions and critiques. So, if you want to critique and be critiqued only every once in a while, this is the way to go.
- If neither of these work for you, here’s a great thing to do. Go to Yahoo, click on groups, and search writing critique groups. This comes up with a huge list. Here’s a link to the search that I did.
Critique groups can be so helpful, but they’re hard to find. I hope that one of the above options works for you!
One last thing! Last week I guest posted on Storyfix.com, one of my favorite story help websites ever. Check it out to read “What to Do if You Hate Your Novel”.