Sunday, 10 July 2011

Online Writers Critique Groups

Online Writers’ Critique Groups

Last week I wrote about Writers Circles. This week I’m writing about my experience of the three online writers’ critique groups which I belong to.

My experience of these groups for historical novelists has been positive. However, via the proverbial grape vine I’ve heard that some authors’ experiences have been unproductive. My advice would be to search for a suitable group.

Members of the groups I belong to are not allowed ‘to flame’. They are expected to be polite and offer constructive critiques.

Each group is for writers who are conversant with the unwritten rules of writing and are seeking publication.

In return for receiving critiques, members are expected to reciprocate.

Over the years, I have made new friends who trust my comments on their novels. A few of us met in person. One charming lady and I meet from time to time, visit places of historical interest and, over lunch, discuss ‘writerly’ matters.

There are always some fellow writers on the groups with whom I am on ‘the same wavelength.’ Through them I’ve been introduced to eras I know little about and they have been introduced to the Stuart Queen Anne’s era – 1702-1714.

When I receive a critique I always remind myself that the comments in it only reflect one person’s opinion and it is up to me to accept or reject them. Sometimes I have enjoyed writing a flowery passage which a critiquer rightly suggests toning down. On other occasions flaws and inconsistencies in the plot are pointed out.

It is also useful to receive comments on unconsciously telling the reader about an incident instead of revealing it through the character, on head hopping when I change from one character’s viewpoint to another’s, too much emotion or a lack of emotion at crucial points. All this is free for the taking and helps me to improve my novels.

Achieving publication has never been easy. There are more examples of writers whose work was rejected time and time again before they became either classical authors or modern best sellers than I have space to mention. I am sure you can think of some, including J. K. Rowlings who wrote the Harry Potter series. In order to be published writers need to do everything they can to help themselves. I belong to a writers circle and to critique groups in order to scrub, dust and polish every sentence in my work.

Forthcoming release. Tangled Love (previously published as Tangled Hearts) 27.01.2012

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