Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Critique Group Series Part 2: Starting Your Own Crit Group

Let’s say you aren’t able to find a critique group that works for you. Why not start your own? That’s what I did and I’m so glad. I have a wonderful set of gals in my group.

But how do you go about starting your own group? Advertise. Put up an announcement where other writers will see it. For me, my blog was my best bet, so I had a contest to find potential critiquers. The writers sent me a sample of their writing and some answered a questionnaire so I could get a sense of where they were on their journey. Once I had my circle of friends, we came up with a name for our clan, and I opened a Yahoo group.

I’ve been a part of several critique groups. All but one used Yahoo groups. The Yahoo critique groups had everyone post their chapter up for critique through the message feature and the completed crit was posted the same way. Depending on how many people were involved, I soon discovered submissions were lost in the shuffle as normal conversation also dominated the loop. I didn’t want this to happen to my group because everyone deserves a critique for their submission.

To avoid this potential problem, I organized a special spot for our critiques. In the folder section, I created two files for each member of the group: a To Do file and a Done file. When Member A had a chapter to be critiqued, she placed it in her To Do file. Once another member, say Member B, critiqued that chapter, she posted it in Member A’s Done file. This system has worked really well for us.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about what to look for when critiquing a writer’s work.

What do you find works or doesn’t work in your group or groups you’ve been involved in over the years?


  1. Our group is fairly small so we haven't had any subs lost, that I know of. We use yahoo too. I did join a group that used the file/folder thingy, but I'm so technically dumb that I had the hardest time figuring it out. Eventually I just withdrew from their. I love my group now.
    I think Yahoo Groups are a great tool for this.

  2. Thanks for the advice Lynnette! I talked to Meredith, the crit buddy you set me up with, and she seems so, so nice. If things go well, I wouldn't be opposed to finding more people and starting a little group :)

  3. I love the way our group works. We each have our own file folders where we put the chapters to be critiqued and another one for the critiquers to place the chaps they have read. Every chapter that needs a critique is listed on a database (used in Yahoo Groups) and when I read and critiqu a chap, I add my name to the column. Once the chapter receives 4 critiques it is taken down. This system works very well for the group. Plus, I would need to critique 3 chapters before I could post one. This keeps the group moving. I am enjoying your discussion on critique groups.

  4. Great advice Lynnette! Starting a critique group is a big step, thanks for walking us through the process.

    Maybe one day...

  5. This is good stuff! Roni not only set me and one of my members up, she also helped us with using Yahoo Groups. She's my heroine.

  6. Great advice. I like the idea of the folders. It can help keep things organized when people are working on different schedules.

  7. You TOTALLY answered my questions!!! Thank you! It sounds like an excellent way to be organized and efficient.

  8. You do have a fantastic critique group. ;-) And I think the contest idea is a clever one.

  9. That's a great idea with the yahoo group set up. At the moment, my critique group is set up at, which is a great forum if anyone would like to stop by.

    Lynnette,thanks for setting me up with my critique partners. We haven't got anything going yet because I was so busy with NaNo, but hopefully we will be good for each other.

  10. Jessica: I'm glad you like your group.

    Julie: That's great that you like your new partner. Hope it works out for you both.

    Amy: We have a similiar database set up so we can ensure everyone gets one crit a week.

    Tamika: Glad you find my posts helpful.

    Heather: Thanks. :)

    Tina: Yes, Roni's a great gal!

    Tara: I like the folder system, but what works for me, might not work for everyone.

    Sherrinda: I'm glad I answered your questions. Good luck on setting up your group.

    Dawn: Awwww.... Shucks!

    Cher: You're very welcome. I hope things work out for you.

    Lynnette Labelle