The “C” Word
As a writer, I attend my critique group religiously. You may be saying to yourself, “That seems a touch masochistic.” Well, it might be, but it’s necessary. It’s important to put our writing out in front of others because when we’re alone in front of our computer screens we have a tendency to believe that pure gold is flowing from our brains onto our pages.
People often write a draft. maybe they revise it (or maybe not) and give it to their parents, best friends, or significant others. They ask for honest opinions. In most cases they hear that they have written the greatest book ever. These well meaning people are probably sincere, but they probably aren’t writers, and they definitely aren’t removed enough to be honest.
That’s where a good critique group comes in. You need to trust the people in the group. You need to respect them as writers. And you need to listen when they tell you that a scene or character isn’t working.
My rule is if more than three people say the same thing, listen. You have a problem.
Of course, not all critique groups are created equal, but if you look around, you’ll find one that works. Attend a writers’ conference and mix around. Go on line and find a local writers’ group. They are everywhere, and they can be a great support, especially when you’re first starting out.
Another plus, you’ll discover that you aren’t alone in the great big writing world. When you’ve been holed up with your computer for hours, days, and weeks on end, you’ll be happy to discover other humans just like you out there.