A critique group … well, they critique. And that’s important if you’re serious about being a writer, especially when you’re in your first decade. I’m going to quote Ferrett Steinmetz here:
I was writing to please my friends, and I thought that “pretty good” stories were good enough, not realizing that the slush piles are clogged with “pretty good,” and they want great. I spent a lot of time in front of the keyboard, but I wasn’t learning much – I talked to buddies who liked what I wrote well enough, and when I got rejected I shrugged…
That’s why Clarion was so transformative to me. I had eighteen people, all willing to pound my story to bits.
And that’s what critique groups do. They are there to support the story, not you.
That is a valuable thing, my friends.
There’s been a lot of pixels spilled about finding (or creating!) your own critique group – here’s two great places to get started:
The NaNoWriMo write-ins coming up at your local library would also be a keen place to find lots of writers congregated at the same time and place. Just put up a sign saying when you’re going to get together, and go from there.
And yes, it can be as simple as being at the right place at the right time. For me, it was just being at the right virtual place at the right time. I tweeted that I wanted a writing group while I was at GenCon one year, and another author saw it, and we drug our own friends and other like-minded people in.
One important thing to keep in mind here is that the number of people does *not* imply anything about how worthwhile it is. We lost two people in the first two meetings! But there’s a core three of us that have been constant since the beginning, and we all find value in it.