Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Critique Group Week: Ten-plus years together!

 This fab five includes core members who've been working together for over a decade––and they're still going strong!

1. How many members?
We currently have five regular members: Helen Landalf, Marjorie Nye, Julie Reinhardt, Anne Marie Heckt, and our newest member, Dana Mongillo.

2. How long has the group been together?

Helen Landalf and former member Pam Wilkinson (who has since moved to California) founded the group well over 10 years ago. The group’s composition has changed over years, with many members coming and going.

3. Do you focus on single or multiple genres?

Right now all of us are writing YA, but over the past year, we have also critiqued each other’s poetry, picture book texts, and chapter books.

4. How often do you meet? Where?

We meet twice a month at member’s homes. Sometimes we meet at Chocolati Café in Greenwood.

5. What has been your group's biggest challenge(s)? How have you resolved it/them?

Our biggest challenge is that we love to chat – which is great, but then we run out of time for critiques. We’ve resolved this by designating the first 15 minutes of our meeting as chat/catch-up time. Then, at 4:30 on the dot, we move into critiques.

6. What is the format of your meetings? What seems to work best for the group (writing exercise to start, then single/double critiques, etc.)

We run our meetings like The Great Critique. Each member who wants a critique reads up to 6 pages of their work aloud. Everyone else follows along and writes comments on a copy of the pages, and then we take turns giving feedback.

7. What is the key to a successful group dynamic?

Our group works because we genuinely care about each other, as people and as writers, and want everyone in the group to be successful. We are careful to give positive comments as well as critical ones, and we give honest feedback with the intention of helping each writer improve her work.

8. Any quirky group rituals? Inspirational rituals? Favorite snacks?

Once in a while, we go on a writing retreat together. This can be as simple as hanging out for an afternoon in a neighborhood coffee shop or as involved as spending a writing weekend together on Vashon or Whidbey Island. We are all incurable tea fanatics!

No comments: