Saturday, April 11, 2015

Thoughts Regarding Critique Groups

They Are Necessary

Joining a writing group is one of the easiest ways to discover things you’ve overlooked. That can be punctuation, grammar, or that you’ve accidentally changed the main character’s name! Fresh readers quickly see things you’ve missed.

They Can Make You Feel HIGH and LOW

Critique groups can sometimes be made up of newbie writers. Some read your story and tell you that it’s over-the-top terrific (which feels good), but in your heart you know better. Many give good feedback on punctuation and suggestions. Other well-meaning people pick it to shreds and cause you to wonder if you shouldn’t have taken up the oboe instead of writing.

They Cause You To Analyze How Much You Want To Be A Writer

After you reread your critiques, you must decide which things to listen to, and which to ignore. That can be hard. Many times the advice regarding grammar is correct, but being correct isn’t always what you want. You can lose the uniqueness of your story by making the writing generic. These are all things that you have to consider. 

They Cause You To Think Out-Side-The-Box

Not only will you have critiques that point out you used the word “just” several hundred times, they will also make you aware of phrases you tend to repeat. If you’d like to catch some of these things before they're pointed out by critiquers, you might consider editing software.

EditMinion, like other manuscript editing software, will help you locate common mistakes. Among other things, it highlights in different colors adverbs, weak words, sentences ending with prepositions and passive voice. It will quickly point out words and phrases that are repeated too often.

Pro Writing Aid points out overused words, vague and abstract words, repeated words, pacing, etc.

Sticky sentences might be new to you. It will also alert you to those.

AutoCrit and ProWritingAid are two others. I'm not going to attempt to review or list all that are available, but they are worth considering.

 Do you want to keep writing? Do you love it enough to risk hearing negative things?  Can you make only changes that reflect your writing style? If so, I would take a deep breath, find editing software and join a good critique group.

If anyone has personal thoughts on the editing programs or critique groups, I'd be interesting in hearing from you.

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