Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Writing Life -- Critique Groups

I've been a member of the same critique group for twenty years. Now the members have changed over the years and there are only one other of the original group who comes at least some of the time. Among the writers who have been part of the group, some have gone on to great success and others have dropped out of the writing life.

I wonder about some of the ones who have dropped out over the years. Several of them were better writers than I am. Some dropped out because life slammed them and they stopped writing for a time. This I understand since I stopped when I went back to work as a nurse. Families, illness and other such events can dam a writer's creativity. The ones who have returned to writing have been welcomed with open arms.

What about the others. I can think of several beautiful writers both published and unpublished who have given up writing. I don't think I can and I also know I'll never reach their expression.

What does this have to do with critique groups. Writing is a lonely business and often families don't understand a writer's obsession. In a critique group a writer finds support, companionship of other people who hear the voices of characters, and often ways to overcome the flaws in their writing. The group I belong to has people writing a variety of genres, mostly romance, but in the multitude of spinoffs in that area. Hearing other kinds of work is always a treat, even if I don't write that kind of fiction.

The question for today is Do you belong to a critique group? What are the pluses and minuses you've found in the group?

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