Writing Critique Groups

Writing Critique Groups
When I first began my bachelor’s of Arts program, with a speciality of Creative Nonfiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University, I was very shy about participating in writing critique groups.

My past experiences with some online groups turned out to be more frustrating than helpful. In my degree program, there are three Creative Writing Workshops that utilize critique groups. As I started to use this new approach, I discovered quite a lot of wonderful things.

First and foremost, I found that there can be helpful critique groups made up of complete strangers all writing in different genres, that are supportive and helpful. The idea that writers in different genres than mine, critiquing my work, was a bit difficult for me to handle at first. After a few weeks in my first term, I discovered that many of the other students were as nervous as I was.

Then, when we started to read each other story assignments, I grew as a writer. I could see how reading other writers work was opening up my experience as a reader. It allowed me to read things I would not have sought after myself. In doing that, I could see how different craft techniques were used in ways I had not thought of.

Midway into the first term, I realized how valuable other writers critiques can be. The groups in my degree program have simple rules that are followed by us all. First, we were taught what a proper critique was. We learned how to present the strengths of the piece of writing and how to use our experience in reading it to illustrate possible improvements.

I came away from my first experience with wider perspective of how people were experiencing my stories. This lead me to learn more techniques, to find the right mix to have my stories understood the way I had originally intended.

Since then, I’ve enjoyed and gained a wealth of knowledge and experience, from all three of my Creative NonFiction critique groups. I’m presently in my second Fiction group and learning even more.

If you are looking to hone your craft and expand your gifts for writing find a comfortable writing critique group to join. The wonderful thing about the Internet is there are quite a few goods ones out there, and they are all free.

Here are three to get your started:

Critique Circle

Internet Writing Workshop

Toasted Cheese

Happy Writing!

Bluedolphin Crow is the writer for BellaOnline's Nonfiction Writing Site. Why not circle her on Google+?

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