Are Crit Groups Dying?

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  • #235853
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
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    I thought I’d share the one crit group I’ve stayed with for the past year. They’re looking for new members right now.

    http://www.dreaminginink.com/main.php

    The group runs on a point system. Any genre is welcomed as are short stories and novels.

    #237775
    Giddy
    Participant
    • Topics - 9
    • Replies - 51
    Quote:
    I’ve learned that while crits are very, very useful, that I’ve finally come to a place in my writing headspace where I feel confident enough to move on without them, and to have learned when to step back so I can see it with fresh(er) eyes.

    macaroni_thief,
    I think this is a pretty spot on observation. For me at least, it rings true.

    Quote:
    The hard part is getting people who are invested. In a lot of cases, you’ll have people who are there simply for validation. They want to hear how awesome their idea is and when they receive any criticism (constructive or otherwise) tensions start and things fall apart.

    Black,

    I have seen this a lot. Also I have found a lot of cliques where no matter what people write, they say it’s wonderful and nothing can be improved. Stroking each others’ egos does not improve writing.

    #235854
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 558
    • Replies - 15,536

    I’ve been reading this thread all along, and I fall into every single category mentioned :).

    My suggestion for the folks looking for a novel crit is you’d do better finding someone to swap novels with…even if you have to do several someone’s than having a crit group with the partial posts.

    Novels aren’t meant to be read in pieces, so some of the advice you can get that way (unless you’re looking for the final polish) will result in an overly heavy beginning that readers won’t need when they can just turn the page rather than waiting a week or more for the next bit.

    So, if you want a crit, post a request for a crit on the appropriate crit board. If you want a crit group, do the same. I’m seeing a lot of folks interested in and seeing the value in them, but make sure that interest translates into doing.

    And a quick anecdote: I did a novel exchange with a critter on FM (quite a number of them actually) where when I read his novel, I realized that the ordering of scenes actually worked against the building tension. I tried to explain, sure I was making a hash of it, and sent it back. Got his crit of mine. Guess what he’d discovered? The same thing in mine. I couldn’t see it in my story any more than he could see it in his, but once we’d recognized it, then that aspect became clear. I included a section on the ordering in the outline course I taught here a couple years back and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without the novel exchange that opened my eyes. It’s worth it. Time consuming, but definitely worth it :).

    And in scrolling back, I see I’ve already said this, but without the context, so I’m leaving it :).

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #235855
    Keeley
    Participant
    • Topics - 23
    • Replies - 125

    I’ve been wondering the same thing about critique groups. It’s why I joined Forward Motion. I was hoping to get the same motivation, insight, and friendships I got from my previous crit groups.

    I think at this point, I’d be happy to find a really good First Reader, more than anything. Just one person whose writing I “get” and who “gets” my writing. That’d be nice.

    Back to the topic at hand, I do think more people are paying editors or looking for beta readers as opposed to trading critiques. Now that indie publishing is easier, I’ve noticed more people looking at it as a business as opposed to a craft. Nothing at all wrong with viewing it as a business, but craft, I think, is being overlooked, and that’s what sustains the business.

    Or as Dean Wesley Smith pointed out in a video lecture I watched a couple months ago, if your book isn’t doing well, it could be the cover, blurb, or formatting. It could also be that the book isn’t very good. Not many people want to hear that, let alone do something about it.

    (Side note: my last two experiences with crit groups were not good and made me wonder if they should even exist. Still not sure, but I really want to improve.)

    Author of a romance between Loki and Sigyn, a dragon shapeshifter series, and a romantic fantasy with forbidden magic and a mysterious minstrel. (More at amykeeley.wordpress.com)

    Also writes space opera/sociological science fiction under the name Z.A. Waterstone. (zawaterstone.wordpress.com)

    #237855
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
    • Replies - 336

    Yes, that one person. I totally get that and they are no where to be found these days.

    Dreaming In Ink right now is the only crit group I’m with and the one I’ve lasted the longest with. But I’m still looking at one that you do have to pay 6$ a month to use. Wondering if people take things more seriously if you pay for crits.

    #237873
    Giddy
    Participant
    • Topics - 9
    • Replies - 51
    Quote:
    Wondering if people take things more seriously if you pay for crits.

    magicalbookworm:

    I have been in a couple and found it exactly the same as the free ones. In saying that, there are plenty of different ones. I’m sure there are a few that may be good. (No idea which ones)

    #237874
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 558
    • Replies - 15,536

    If you’re talking OWW, I’m there and have been for years (though haven’t DONE anything much). I met my novel crit group there (had to bow out for health reasons, but it was good while I could do it) and I’ve gotten a lot of solid crits. Only one worthless one that I recall. Yes, paying for it tends to weed out those not willing to put some effort into it because you don’t get crits back if you give shoddy crits.

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #236000
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
    • Replies - 336

    okay, I’m wondering where the novel exchange board is? Have I overlooked it?

    #238689
    Magic Seeker
    Moderator
    • Topics - 80
    • Replies - 1,212

    I thought we were posting requests here:
    http://www.fmwriters.com/zoomfm/index.php/forum/critique-connection

    None too sure of that, though. :S

    Happy writing,
    Deb Salisbury
    The Mantua-Maker, Quality Historical Sewing Patterns and Books
    www.mantua-maker.com

    The Art of the Hoop: 1860 - 1869, Dress, Sewing, and Clothing Care Advice
    https://www.mantua-maker.com/a---1860s-fashion.html

    Dead Wizard's Loot: Wizard Whitewing #1
    http://www.djsalisburybooks.com/Dead-Wizard-s-Loot.html

    #238699
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
    • Replies - 336

    Me either, because there’s no posts for novel exchanges. Maybe there needs to be a forum just for that? ;)

    #238700
    MarFisk
    Moderator
    • Topics - 558
    • Replies - 15,536

    I tried to find it and it looks like it didn’t make the leap to the new forum. Have raised the question as to whether this was deliberate or not :).

    She remakes mechanical devices, and he dreams of becoming a steamship captain in The Steamship Chronicles. Book 1 is free in eBook.
    https://margaretmcgaffeyfisk.com/the-steamship-chronicles/

    #238702
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
    • Replies - 336

    Thanks Mar

    #238711
    zette
    Moderator
    • Topics - 580
    • Replies - 886

    It was deliberate at the time. I was asking for people to say what boards they still used and that one never came up. If people would like it back, though, I can recreate it. I think I can get the old rules back still.

    Or maybe it would be better to have people tell me what rules would help.

    #240469
    astropolis
    Participant
    • Topics - 21
    • Replies - 100

    Back in the dawn of time I used to run an SF crit group called “Space Fleet Academy”, only one rule- no magic. It had no formal membership, anyone could post a short story or extract and get a couple of crits.

    If anyone wants it back I’d be only too happy to do it again.

    #240470
    magicalbookworm
    Participant
    • Topics - 48
    • Replies - 336

    I don’t remember what the rules were besides the basic rules of the forum.

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