Every writer needs to have some kind of networking support in order to grow and become more proficient in his craft. One form of support is the critique group, which means just that – members critique each other’s work and provide helpful feedback on different areas of the work. If it is non-fiction, the critique may focus on grammar, sentence structure, content, relevance and development of the subject matter. If it is fiction, members may focus on theme, point of view, character development, setting, dialog and narrative in addition to grammar and sentence structure.

Critique groups can be of invaluable help to a new writer. Not only can they help you hone your skills, but they can offer much-needed support when your writing doesn’t seem to be moving along the way you would like it, or when you face the dreaded writers’ block. Critique groups can also exchange information beneficial to writers such as books, tapes, conferences and other valuable resources.

Critique groups may meet face to face, or online. I have been a member of a critique group for I don’t remember how long. It began when a few of us broke off from a very large group that had become overwhelming and formed our own little group. This was much more comfortable and as our relationship strengthened, so did our writing skills. Over the years new members have joined and some have left, but the core members, including myself, have remained. Today, we are a closely knit group, exchanging personal information along with our crits, without losing sight of our goals and our mission.

Even though we can now call ourselves friends, we are honest with our crits. If something needs reworking we say so, and if it’s excellent, we are lavish with our praise. I am grateful for my critique group. If you belong to one, please leave a comment about it below.

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