The Clay County fiction critique group invites writers to join us! Writers of any kind of fiction (long or short, any genre) are welcome. You can be experienced or new to writing—it doesn’t matter.
We meet the 2nd and 4th Thursday each month at 6:30pm at Panera Bread on County Rd 220 in Fleming Island, FL. You don’t have to “know” how to critique. There is no wrong way. You simply comment on anything that strikes you, anything from grammar and punctuation to characterization and plot structure—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
How it works:
*We submit one chapter or 10 pages in Word via email by the Friday before the meeting.
*Formatting is double-spaced with continuous line numbers (which is under Page Layout).
*Each member does a line-by-line critique using the Comments tool under Review. (If you have questions about how to do any of this in Word, please let me know.)
*At the meeting, we discuss the comments in more detail, as well as anything else anyone in the group would like to discuss—queries, how and where to submit, style and voice, plot structure…whatever.
If you would like to participate, or even just sit in (you know, just to make sure we’re not crazy people–mostly), please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). Hope to see you there!
Click here for a map.
Tips for critiquing
Critique: a detailed evaluation or review
- The point is to be helpful, not show how smart you are—Leave your ego at home. Egos are like a snow suit in Florida, pointless and cause an unpleasant smell when worn too long.
- Praise, Correct, Praise—This isn’t just to keep people from being upset. The main goal of critiquing is to help. If you don’t tell the writer what is good, they may chuck the whole thing, start over, and lose all the stuff that was worth keeping.
- Offer an honest opinion—Be nice, but be honest. If you don’t explain your opinion, then what’s the point of critiquing? And remember, someone eventually will give the full truth—and they probably won’t be as nice as you.
- Focus on the piece as a whole—Grammatical advice is helpful, but don’t make it the main topic. Focus more on plot, structure, characterization…the fun stuff. While commas are a necessary evil, they are much easier to figure out. Use critique time for the most important thing—how to grab and hold a reader’s attention.
- Brainstorm solutions—Of course, we wouldn’t suggest that you tell someone how to “fix” their manuscript, but you should be willing to throw out ideas on how to make improvements.
- Leave it to their judgment—While you shouldn’t be shy about offering an opinion, remember the final decisions lay in the hands of the writer. Respect that.
Tips on being critiqued
- It is your writing that is being critiqued, not you—While our stories may feel like our babies, they’re not. (Though wouldn’t you be willing to endure some pain in order to help your child succeed?) You are not a bad person, or a bad writer for that matter, just because someone gives you a harsh critique.
- Consider comments carefully—You may not agree with everything your critique group tells you. That’s okay. However, don’t automatically disregard it. Let it simmer in the back of your head. Upon further reflection, you may find some value in the advice. On the flip side, don’t try to implement all suggestions. This may only serve to make a mess of your project. Rely on your own judgment.
- Be open to advice—Don’t be defensive or try to explain what they’re “not getting.” Frankly, if more than one person doesn’t get it, you probably need to rewrite it. And that’s the great thing about critique groups—you have access to several opinions. It’s always safest to go with the majority.