Surely there’s a better collective noun for writers? If a group of ravens or crows can be a ‘storytelling,’ why not writers? I’ve not found a better group name, but perhaps you have one.
“Critique group” is the most common collective of writers. And when most writers think of critique groups, they think of a small group of people drinking coffee (or other beverages) and going over each other’s pages.
Well, that’s one helpful function of a critique group. But constructive criticism isn’t the sole function of such a group.
Many people use their groups to brainstorm story ideas. Or help plot out a story. Or resolve thorny plot points. Often it helps just to talk about your story with folks who understand you’re not complaining, not really. Or who know who you’re talking about when you call your characters by name.
A writing friend told me that a well-known romance writer spoke about her critique group at a conference. This writer and a few close writing friends hold a short retreat once a year. Each writer gets two ninety minute sessions – and at the end, each writer has the plots for two new books! The group then meets monthly to check in, and at those meetings, writers can ask for feedback on pages, hash out plot tangles, or discuss progress. It’s up to the individual writer.
This process sounds great to me! My own group is thinking about trying it. We’re pretty flexible, and two of us have decided not to submit work to the others unless it’s a finished draft. (I personally get caught up in the merry-go-round of revision frequently.)
Do you have something special you do with your critique group? Any wonderful ideas for keeping the group fresh and energetic?
One last note – L is for Literary will be on hiatus at least through the end of summer. I’m working on a draft and making plans to revise last year’s book. I’m also doing a lot of reading for the agency – requested manuscripts are in, and I’m looking at a few in hopes of getting my first client!