Monday, November 7, 2011

The Great Critique Group Matchmaking Service Is HERE.

My next series of posts will be about critique groups and partners, betas, and writing groups. But before I get into what these are and why they’re important, I want to offer my services as a matchmaker. Lately, I’ve been approached by a few writers who’d like me to be their critique partner. Unfortunately, I’m too busy to exchange work with anyone (or even write on a regular basis.) However, that doesn’t mean I can’t help you find a match.

If you’re looking for a critique group, fill out the questionnaire below with the questions and answers, then email this to me as an attachment. Please put “Critique Group Matchmaking” in the subject line or I won’t open the email. Now, listen carefully (or read with focus.) I’m going to post your questionnaire on my blogs. I won’t post your name or your contact information if you don’t want me to, but everything else will go as written. This means, you need to have the questions AND answers in the correct order when you email me. I won’t edit your questionnaire, so please make sure you don’t have any spelling mistakes. That might scare off potential critique partners.

Your questionnaire should look like this:

1. How long have you been writing?
A: I’ve been writing since I was a child but only started to take it seriously about eight years ago.

Email the document as a Microsoft Word document using Times New Roman or Ariel font size 12. My email address is: lynnette_labelle at hotmail dot com. Note: if you don’t spell my name correctly (with two n’s), I won’t get the email. I’ll let you know when your questionnaire has been received. If you don’t get a notice within 24 hours, send your document once more.

If the writer chooses to add his/her contact information to the post, you may contact him/her directly. If not, let me know who you’re interested in and send me your questionnaire. If I feel you MIGHT be a good fit (this is all guesswork), I’ll send your contact information and questionnaire to the person you requested. I’ll also try to place people together who haven’t requested a specific person. Make sense?

Critique Group Questionnaire

About You:

1. In a paragraph, tell us a bit about yourself. (Married? Kids? Pets? Job? Anything you’d like to share, but don't talk about writing here. Those types of questions will follow.)

2. What made you decide to start writing?

3. How long have you been writing at a serious level?

4. How many completed manuscripts do you have under your belt?

5. What's the genre of the story you’d like to have critiqued?

6. What genre(s) do you normally write?

7. What genre(s) do you like to read for pleasure? Name some authors you’ve read (and enjoyed) recently.

8. What genre(s) would you prefer not to read?

9. Are you published? If yes, what, where, and when?

10. Do you have an agent? Care to share his/her name and company? (Not required, just curious).

11. Have you entered any contests and what were the results?

12. Are you a member of RWA or any other writers' groups?

13. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

14. If you join this group, what will you have the members critique?
a)something you’ve already finished and are planning on submitting to agents soon?
b)something your agent wants you to edit before she can submit?
c)something you’re still working on, but you’ll send the earlier part for critique and work on the rest?
d)something you’ve just started. You plan to write and have that chapter critiqued soon after?

15. How often would you wish to exchange work to be critiqued and how many pages at a time?

16. What are your strong points and areas of improvement as a writer?
17. Rate your strength/weakness in the areas below using the following scale:

1- Need a lot of help
2- Still working on this
3- I stumble sometimes
4- I rarely struggle with this
5- Very strong in this area

a) grammar b) spelling c) punctuation d) description e) dialogue f) narrative g) POV h) passive voice i) action/tension j) tight writing k) show vs. tell l) GMCs.

18. Describe the GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts) for one of your characters.

19. On a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being fluffy and 5 being very tough but not rude) what level of critique are you comfortable giving/receiving?

20. How would you describe yourself as a critiquer (detailed, line edit type person, big picture/concept person, etc.)?

21. Do you have a website or blog? What’s the address? (Are you comfortable with this being posted on my blog? If not, please answer the question and let me know. I won’t post this but need to know more about you when matchmaking.)

Critique Group Specific:

22. Do you belong to or have you ever belonged to a critique group?

23. A critique group isn't a place to promote personal agendas such as religion or politics. Will that be a problem for you?

24. In this group, you may find writing with swears, graphic violence, and explicit sex scenes. Will that bother you? Can you objectively critique this type of work?

25. Are you looking for a long term critique group or just someone to help you with this particular story?

Contact Information: (Please fill this out, but let me know if you don’t want this or part of this to be posted on my blog. For example, you may not want your email address posted but are okay with your name and website mentioned.)

Real name:
Website and/or blog:
Email address:

Good luck on your search.

Lynnette Labelle

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic! What a great service! I wrote a post on things that can go wrong in a critique group last week, and but it looks like this questionnaire will help keep all that weirdness from happening. I'll add a link to this in the blogpost: Bad Critique Groups—8 Things That Can Push a Group Over to the Dark Side