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: