Receiving Critiques

Before the Critique:
  • Attend a meeting or two before submitting.
  • Submit only work that’s been revised enough to be given a fair review by someone else. Catch as many typos and other errors as you can. Please don’t submit a first draft.
  • Submit only work you’re open to revising further. Members put time and energy into critiques expecting their comments will be given consideration.
  • Review the Submission Guidelines page before submitting a piece.
  • If you’d like the critique to address specific issues, let the group know ahead of time. If possible, add a typed note on the front page so members know what you want them to examine.
  • If you’ve submitted work and find you’re unable to attend the next meeting, let the group leader know as soon as possible.
During the Critique:
  • You’ll be asked to start the critique session by giving a reading from your work (3 pages or so for prose/varies for poetry).
  • In general, we ask writers not to speak while their work is being discussed, unless asked a direct question.
  • Take notes and listen to what’s being said. While the writer is the final arbiter, asking for an opinion is why you joined a critique group, so bring an open mind to the table.
  • Resist the urge to explain or defend your work. If you feel that readers aren’t getting it, consider a different approach.
  • Remember that the critique isn’t meant to be personal. The purpose is to help you improve your writing, not to judge you as a person.
  • You’ll find that we’re as honest with praise as we are with criticism.
  • Critiques are given with the expectation that the writer would like to get published.
After the Critique
  • After the meeting, review your notes and the comments written on the returned pages, then let it sit for a few days. Waiting helps you see the comments more objectively.
  • When you revise, experiment with which comments improve the piece and which don’t. You can always go back to the original if it doesn’t work out.
  • Short, stand-alone pieces that have been revised can be resubmitted.
  • For submissions that are part of a larger work, review what’s being said after two or three meeting and then make sure future submissions of the same work don’t require similar adjustments.
  • Also, once a larger work is completed and polished, you may want to ask for a volunteer to read it all the way through.
Also see the following pages:
            About GFWG
            Giving Critiques
            Submission Guidelines

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