Opening the Critique Discussion
One of the reasons I started this website is that there was a pretty serious curve in my own writing path this year. Up until last spring, I was writing mostly fiction and filling in gaps with freelance manuscript editing. Then I pitched a critique-book idea to an editor at Writer’s Digest and found myself with a nonfiction book contract. The Critiquer’s Survival Guide was born.
Okay, well, it won’t be born for another year, but the writing commitment it was going to take from me was definitely given a kick in the you-know-what.
Anyway, it felt like time to change the look and focus of my site, so here you go. Ta da!
While I write this book (and for quite some time, afterward, I suspect) I’ll be thinking a lot about critique groups and about the critique process–how to really dig deep into a story and provide thorough, constructive, and–yes–supportive feedback. So, one of the things I’d like to do with this website is use it as a central “location” for people to talk about this topic. I’d like for people to feel they can come here with questions, for answers, to brainstorm techniques, and to troubleshoot any problems. We’ll use the comments section a lot, I hope, and I’ll take what seem big questions and ideas and see about turning them into new posts–for new discussions!
Now, I’m going to be honest here. You know those times when you are trying to tell a story to a group of very young children? Let’s say you’re telling them about a trip you and your grandfather took to the zoo. You have this great set-up, and you’ve got some funny stuff along the way for details, and there is a whiz-bang ending that will tie it all up into a beautiful package. And what do the kids do? They (hopefully!) raise their hands, all of them, to tell you about the time they went to the zoo, and theysaw an elephant (or a zebra or a boa constrictor or an okapi), and then the parrot “messed” on their little brother’s cotton candy, and they never did get to the platypus exhibit! And maybe the kids even start pushing each other if they don’t think they’re getting their turn, and somebody throws a cookie, and someone else uses the word “stupid.”
You get the picture. Let’s keep our discussions on topic and respectful–hey, kind of like a critique group
! I want to hear any and all opinions, but I will delete comments that I think cross a line. (Don’t worry–I know that any of you who have already stopped by don’t need to hear that, but I’m sticking it in for a just-in-case, I-warned-you scenario for the future!
So what do you think? Any takers? Does this sound like a good idea to anybody but me? For this first post, is there a question you’ve had for a while about how critique groups work, or what kind might be best-suited to you? Throw a comment in, and let’s see what we all get back!