Critiquing Critiques


Last week, I was a little nervous about presenting my piece to my writer’s group. I was unsure about the changes I made, but, overall the piece went over well and I received positive and good feedback.

Once you’ve been with a group for a while, you can anticipate certain people’s responses. John hates all adverbs, period. Jane doesn’t like dialogue heavy passages. This is good, because you go in knowing what to expect and that gives you a jump-start on sorting the critiques you know you’ll pay attention to and the opinions you know you’ll accept graciously but not listen to.

I think is can also help when you’re writing, too. If you’re an adverb heavy writer, knowing that John is going to circle and comment on every single adverb may make you pause during your writing or editing process. Is this really the best word to use? Is John right or is this a case where I can ignore him?

Of course, that’s not to say that you should write for your writing group: to thine own writing be true.

What’s been your experience in writing groups?


3 thoughts on “Critiquing Critiques

  1. Oh yes! It’s almost a standing joke in my group that one person always thinks that there is too much description and another thinks the very same piece has too little of it. Sometimes I even go, “I’m going to agree with what X is going to say in a minute.” One member is an avid reader of literary fiction, another of fantasy. I find it very useful that we are different and, like you, I think it’s nice to know “kind” of readers the others are.

    • Ha ha, I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks like that (I’m going to agree with X in a minute).

      I agree…it’s very useful to have different readers in the group. As much as I can anticipate people’s responses, I always hear something new and unexpected!

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