Critiquing groups are they helpful?

Photo by Henry Diltz

Welcome Readers!



After writing the first rough and I mean rough draft of The Mark of a Druid, I searched all over for a group that would be right for me as an aspiring author. I found that group on compuserve’s literary forum. Now since I joined, the group some almost 5 years ago it has had its membership ups and downs. For several years we were housed in another location on a Forums America site. Not too long ago the forum moved back to compuserve and into a much larger community setting. Lots of the old folks are there and a ton of new ones.


One of the things I liked about our little group was that there wasn’t anyone who felt it necessary to cut you to pieces to make a point about what you could do better in your story. The crits were not only content considerate but line editing as well. (for me extremely helpful) If you saw a mistake that was an obvious typo or grammatical help were also offered as well as plot and character development.


It was an easy system. Once granted access to the library of file you picked something that caught your eye and started critiquing. After you critiqued 5 pieces, you could upload 1. Pieces usually consisted of a complete short story or a chapter or chunk from a WIP (work in progress). From then on it is 3 to 1 and trust me you would build a cash of crits to use for your uploads fast if you put any effort into the group.

The diversity of the group was wonderful, people from all over the world joining together and helped each other out. The benefits to me as an author were worth every minute I spent with these people. Now I am not going to tell you that I agreed with all of the suggestions but if I didn’t incorporate something I thought long and hard about the readers experience.


Now there are plenty or writing groups online and in your local communities as well. I like the online groups because I can get more out of them, the volume of participants is higher and more diverse. While I am not active in the compuserve forum at this time because I am in a different phase, pre-publication and podcasting, I do recommend the group. Here is a link to them the membership is free and once your work is posted it is copywrited so it is actually a way to protect your work although others say it is not safe I just don’t agree. No one writes in the same way I do. They may be able to take what is there but they would never be able to complete the work like I would have, so I don’t worry about it. And from what I know this has not happened in this place. There is also a research and craft area that can be very helpful.


I found my time in a critiquing group extremely rewarding and I hope as I move into book two in the series I will find the group as helpful again. I met many wonderful people there and one of my dearest friends and I actually met there and we talk almost every day.


Keep Writing, I know I will!

Rhonda R. Carpenter

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