Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Critique Group: A Great Writing Tool by Cindy Ervin Huff

Submitting our manuscripts to the scrutiny of publishers and editors never gets easy. No matter novice or veteran there is always the chance of rejection. Editing our own words is a good skill to learn. But we all know we don’t always see the blaring errors. I once sent out a homemade Christmas Card with the words ‘The angles rejoiced at his coming.” After mailing out fifty cards I saw my typo. Ugh.

Friends will laugh and love you anyway. But publishers are not so forgiving. One way I have found to hone my craft and improve my chances of publication is joining a critique group. I am part of two wonderful groups of serious writers. Each group is small. My online group has five members, and my local group has six. We are serious writers with a goal of publication. Over the years most of us have achieved that goal. We continue to meet, helping each other fix weak parts in our words.

I need these fellow-writers. They see those angles that should be angels and the storylines that just aren’t working. They keep me humble while encouraging me to press on. I would have to pay a lot of money for the edits these friends share with me. I’ve learned to find my mistakes more easily thanks to them. My POV is clearer. My voice is my own. And I’ve learned how to receive correction with grace. This has made my experience with editors at conferences more productive. I can walk away from a less than stellar appointment with a professional attitude because critiques are part of my journey.

We all need edits and input on our creations. A critique group is a great place to find them. Our writing improves as we learn from one another. Don’t let fear keep you from adding this tool to your craft box. The more we know the faster we grow. For me seeing the edits on my own paper is easier to understand than reading a craft book.

A critique group won’t get you instant success but overtime your writing gets tighter. And you develop wonderful friendships with other writers. We all know they’re the only ones who truly understand us. And that comradery goes a long way to building our confidence as a writer.

Are you a critique group member? How big is your group? Any special tips for making it helpful to all members?


Cindy Huff, a multi-published writer and 2014 Editor’s Choice winner for her first novel Secrets and Charades which releases in March 2017. As president of the Aurora Illinois chapter of Word Weavers she has a passion to encourage other writers on their journey. Check out her blog Jubilee Writer or visit with her on social media.

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