Saturday, February 27, 2010

Who Loves Ya Baby?

Hopefully your life is filled with people who love you. For me, that's always been the icing on the cake and the cream-filled middle. You trust the people you love and this, ultimately, is the basis of any lasting relationship.

I've been with the same critique group for over ten years. We're practically a family unit now but I remember being the "new kid". I was shaking in my shoes the first time I read anything but I was eager. It's sometimes difficult to be included in a group that's been working together for years but they've been supportive from the start. It's their style and mine.

That doesn't mean that after we've had our coffee and doughnuts and exchanged the latest about what's going on in our lives that we don't get down to business. I rely on them to tell me that I've zigged when I should have zagged. I trust them to tell me the truth and they've never let me down. For me, honesty is a vital function of a critque group/partner.

A couple of years ago, I also started critiquing online with another erotic romance author. I love the review feature! We usually chat once a week by phone and are building a friendship and a working relationship. We've even collaborated on a multi-author series.

Although I think trust is the basis for any critique group/partner relationship,there's much more to be considered. Do you want to critique within a group where everyone shows up with the same level of experience or do you want to vary the experience level and mix published with unpublished (newbies and people who have been honing their craft for years)?

Do you want to critique with friends or if invited, would you walk into an established group and take your chances? What would be your dream critique group? I'd love to know. In case you haven't figured it out, I'm terribly nosy;-)


Enjoy the adventure of sensual romance
Assassin’s Kiss-Ellora’s Cave
5 Stars from Just Erotic Romance Reviews
5 Blue Ribbons from Romance Junkies
4 Stars from Romantic Times
Ellora’s Cave Titles:
Resplendence Titles:


Alicia Dean said...

Very interesting post. I would say that the important ingredients in a critique group are: a mixture of skill and success levels so you can all learn from one another, the ability to offer constructive advice without being insulting, the ability to take that advice without being inulted, and the ability to pick out what works for you and not feel you have to agree with every suggestion. I also think it's important that all members not only critique what is presented, but that all members write and submit. I have found some wonderful friends and critique partners online and among my writer's group where we can meet face to face. I do think that critiquing with too many people is a drawback. It's so time-consuming and often takes away from other things you could be doing. My dream critique group would probably be no more than three other people, with some being on a higher skill level and some lower. I would love to have crit partners in a geographical location where we could meet face to face occasionally, but I wouldn't want to give up my online crit buddies. Sorry for the lengthy post! (Oh yeah, what I would really love is to get away once a year to some cool place, spending an entire weekend with a handful of critique buddies, brainstorming, plotting, etc)

Paris said...

Don't apologize, I agree with everything you've said! As for getting away for an entire weekend to brainstorm and plot, that sounds ideal! How many times are we likely to have 48 hours to work without an interruption, LOL! Great idea, thanks for stopping by:-)

Savanna Kougar said...

Paris, you are SO LUCKY, from my viewpoint, to have a good critique groups that works on the principles of being honest and supportive.

I've never had that experience. In fact, way back when, I took writing courses in college. Well, I soon discovered it was about EGO, intellectual EGO, for the most part, not about helping and supporting each other. This wasn't the fault of the teacher. Overall, she was tremendous.

Truth to tell, the only thing that's happened to me in those kind of situations is being stabbed in the back in one way or another. Oh yes, I was accused of plagiarism... a complete lie... but that didn't matter.

So, now, I simply stay clear. Nope, no critique group. No critique partner. Not that I wouldn't want one. I would.
However, it would have to be someone who liked my particular style of writing.

If you have a good critique group or partner. Be grateful, very, very grateful.

I would love a getaway weekend or longer to simply brainstorm and write and be with other writers.

Paris said...

I've been incredibly lucky over the years and believe me, I'm very grateful. I'm so sorry that this hasn't been your experience.

A writer's getaway is such a wonderful idea. I've been on several retreats and they can be so inspiring;-)

Serena Shay said...

Wow, ten years with the same group and with a positive experience and a new one on one partner, that is wonderful!

I've tried it both ways and I much prefer the one on one with an honest and supportive CP. Or multiple CP's but still one on one. My current CP fits that bill perfectly and I too, count my blessings every day. :)

Ooh love the idea of a retreat. :)

Paris said...

It sounds like we're all on the same page with the brainstorming retreat;-) But I think writers love the idea of being able to have a space and time to concentrate. Life just gets so busy!

April Ash said...

I once tried an online group critique...but some people didn't do more than one a month. I got to the point of feeling like I had to keep up with everyone's work, and drove myself crazy.
The small face-to-face group worked for me. Chemistry and sticking to work is important (some people seem to want more of a "social" time than work time).
I guess you do whatever you're most comfortable doing.

Paris said...

I prefer a small face to face group but my online buddy and I chat weekly so that has to take the place of face time;-)It keeps us all connected which I think is another advantage of having critique buddies who get what you write and are supportive.

Even if I don't have anything to read you can always count on me for an opinion, LOL! Thanks for dropping in;-)

Sandy said...


I have come to prefer my mentor. She brings things up that my critique group never did. I had a lovely critique group for ten years, but it slowly died because of illnesses and cp's moving. I would try it again though.

Paris said...

Mentors are wonderful and I'm very lucky to have mine as part of my critique group. I've come to realize just how lucky I've been over the years!