With my recent Blog Chain post being on critique groups, I’ve had them on the brain lately. So I thought I’d share some tips on how I found my critique groups and partners.
As with everything, there are many, many ways of going about this. But, this is what worked for me.
You really can find just about everything on Google :) When I first set out to look for a group, I had no idea where to begin and lived in a remote area where finding another writer was going to be difficult, if not impossible (or so I thought...but that's another story) :D So I hit the internet. I googled for “online critique groups” and started scrolling.
Going about it this way is going to turn up a lot of results. So choose carefully. In my case, I found a group with an extensive screening process. I had to submit an application of sorts, with a bio and writing samples. I was reassured that this group was legitimate because they were obviously very careful about who they let in. Keep in mind, this was six years ago. Things have changed a bit...there are a lot more legit writer forums, etc out there where you can find crit groups, so googling might not be necessary. If you go this route, I'd definitely be sure to check on the members of groups you find, just to be sure everyone is a good potential crit partner.
I very much enjoyed my time with that group, and learned A LOT. I was a very green writer when I started with them; they showed me the ropes, the rules, helped me get my writing under control. Finding a good group is invaluable.
2. Writers Websites and Forums
This is probably the best way I can think of to find some good crit partners. When I first starting seriously writing, I joined as many writer websites as I could find. I wanted to learn as much as I could about the whole publishing world. I did okay at writing, but I wanted to be better. I found a ton of sites; only a handful were really good, valuable places. Through these sites, a met a few good writing friends. We exchanged some material, and I had my first few critique buddies.
Again, practice caution. Not all sites are there to help writers. Some just want to take advantage. But you can find some really excellent sites. I usually enjoy AbsoluteWrite. They have some excellent information available to writers and I met some really great people there.
But my all time favorite site is QueryTracker.net. I just can’t say enough good things about QT. I joined the site and forum when QT was just getting started, and I was lucky enough to become very close with the members of the site. These people have not only become my critique partners, but are close friends as well.
3. Local Writing Groups
This isn’t something I’ve tried myself as I have such a great online support group and live in a fairly small community. But in larger communities, you should be able to find writer’s groups. Your local library is a great place to start looking. Check the newspapers as well. Being able to meet with your crit partners in person can really be a great experience.
4. National Writers Groups
Organizations like Romance Writers of America, and the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators have many different chapters you can join. I know with RWA, there are chapters specialized in the different sub-genres of romance as well as chapters by location. These types of organizations are a great place to find critique groups or partners. Check out the forums…there is usually a thread devoted to people looking for crit buddies.
I truly believe no writer should be without at least one critique buddy. A fresh set of eyes is always a good idea :)
How did you find your crit partners?