Critique Groups - Long Distance Critiquing

C- Choose the Group that’s right for you – Long Distance Critiquing

I’m sorry for being tardy in getting this post out to you. We’ve had some massive layoffs where I work and sadly, I was one of those cut. I’ve been doing some life reevaluating and trying to decide what chapter is next in the life that is Tami Brothers… I’ll let you know in the months to come what decisions I make in this regard…

Until then, I promised to explain the critique group I currently use. As I said in my article, I currently exchange chapters via e-mail with a critique partner. I also have a friend who acts as a reader for my work. Both of these ladies are great for what I write. One person is awesome at catching the grammar problems I’m known for. While the other is able to see the parts of the story I leave out and what need to be expanded on.

Granted, we are all in a learning curve. None of us are published, so the advice we give may be completely off the hook. But, and this is a huge but, we as writers need this step in the process. I certainly don’t want to pass on my misspelled words and incorrect verbiage to an agent. And I sure as heck don’t want to look like too much of an armature by leaving out a whole story line I thought I put in.

The Pros for this kind of group is that I can be as honest as I want (within reason, of course. We are not here to hammer and smash someone’s muse) and I can mull over their comments without them fearing the pained expressions on my face. I’m the type of person that needs this extra time and I love this process because it gives me the chance to put my best foot forward when I critique with someone. Of course, I don’t have to stress about missing a meeting with my partners because of child care issues or anything else life tends to throw our way. Living so far from my writer friends makes this the most convenient process for me.

A few of the Cons to this type of group is that you don’t get to brainstorm with your partner. There is something to be said about sitting face to face with someone and hashing out a scene. It’s also hard to bounce ideas off of each other via e-mail. Sometimes the spontaneity of the whole process is lost as we wait for a response from the other person. Who knows when they might check their e-mail again. There is also the motivation that is lost when you don’t have that deadline to meet. It’s very easy to shoot out an e-mail when you aren’t ready and I find this is my biggest problem with this process.

These are just my thoughts. Someone else may have a completely different outlook on all of this and that’s great for them. Like I say in the article, you have to figure out what is best for you.

I had planned to do a post on setting up a critique group; but Stephanie Bond did a fabulous job of explaining this last week in her Open Book Blog, so I’m sending you all over there. If you are thinking about starting or joining a Critique Group, read her posts. She has some wonderful ideas on the subject.

I wish you all the best of luck with this process!!!


Walt M said...

Tami, Stephanie's comments are good. So are yours. Thanks.

Devon Gray said...

Hi Tami- Bev and I do the email thing as well since we live so far apart in the Atlanta area. Of course, we spend a LOT of time on the phone brainstorming about our work and life in general. That is a huge plus with CP's- they really become a very important part of your life. I do some critiquing for a friend I met in an online class who lives in Singapore. Now that's long distance!!! It is frustrating not to be able to chat on the phone, but we IM (despite the 12 hour time difference) and email.

I am so sorry to hear about your job. Any manuscripts out there right now? Please keep us posted.

(((Hugs))) Devon

Tami Brothers said...

Hey Guys,

Thanks a bunch for your kind words….

Devon, I completely forgot to mention the phone thing. I’m actually terrible on the phone, but you are correct. The phone can be a very valuable tool in this process… And I love the long distance partnership you have. This is a great way to get another kind of perspective…

Walt, I loved your blog yesterday. As a mom, I really felt for you when you found your son that way. Keep us posted on his progress.

So far, I have one ms out with an agent. Just waiting to hear back on that. You know how hard it is to be patient…. I’ve been completely swamped this December and now January with all the job issues. So I’m hoping (all fingers and toes crossed) that February will be a lot easier to find the time to write…

I’ll keep you all posted and will be looking for updates from both of you as well at your blogs.