Each week I participate in critiquing work of my companion writers in my writers’ group. Sometimes the story is so well told our only criticism involves forgotten commas or a missing word. Other times we question what is happening at that moment in the story because we find something confusing.
Our group had critiqued a story I submitted for a critique at a writers conference. The critique was returned in written form, so there was no opportunity to question his/her conclusion. Since then I have had two people read the story and the critique. Both felt he/she had missed the point of the story.
Now the question is what do I do with this professional critique. I can agree with a point made about certain rhyming words. To use the other points, however, would in effect eliminate the repetitious rhyme which is the point of the story. I think I’ll probably do nothing whether or not it ever gets published. Am I right or wrong? I don’t know.
Writing can be a lonely occupation or in some cases, an obsession. For me, I need an outlet. I need someone to read what I’ve written, to comment, and frankly, to cheer me on. Meeting regularly with a writers group can provide this outlet. I am fortunate to have a group that fulfills my needs.
My group is one which is particularly geared to helping one another to be published. We listen to and carefully critique one another. Recently, I asked them to help me cut words from a picture book manuscript that was too long. I came away with over one hundred words fewer in manuscript. Tightened it is a far better piece.
Some writers groups are for beginning writers, who want to learn to put a story together, whether it is a short story, a memoir, a poem, or a novel. If you want to write, I urge you find the group that meets your needs. If you attend one and you don’t feel comfortable, don’t be discouraged. There are others. You will find strength in others who are anxious to grow in their writing, too.