I’ve approached this backwards. Why? Well, because I am at the point of having received reviews and have been meandering backwards through the whole process, as a sort of self-critique of what I did.
Some people may not need or want a critique group to participate in during the writing process. Me, I find it most helpful. I belong to a majorly diverse group. We have memoir writers, Chicken-soupers, fiction of a decidedly female flavor, fiction of the “A guy walked into a bar” type, a dragon-story writer, a writer of children’s books. We generally have around ten to twelve people at a session. And this is why I go. No matter what I take in or how I’ve polished it, by the time my piece laps the table and I collect verbal and written comments, my piece is better than when I entered the room.
So I love my critique group.
One of the things about them. Each individual is at a different place in the writerly business, and so you get many different kinds of inputs, and no small amount of time, you will get contradictory advice as to how to improve your work. That doesn’t bother me. I look at both and quite often get inspiration to try something neither input suggested. Each input has worth. And there are men and women in the group. I mentioned in the previous post that, in my opinion, men and women bring different things to the critiquing business. But as valuable as the detailed and big picture inputs are during the writing process, I still think getting a wide set of reader perspectives is worth its weight in gold.
And I'll repeat, every comment is valuable, such as my all time favorite, and the best piece of critiquing I ever received: “This is just another stupid men drinking in a bar story. I’m not interested.”
To: “Normally I don ‘t read military stories, but I read yours because the price was right (I gave her a copy), and I like the way you developed your characters.”
Ah, at last. A twig of hope for a wannabe writer to grab onto.