If youíre serious about honing your writing skills, I highly recommend joining a writerís critique group.
MY CRITIQUE GROUP EXPERIENCE:
Our six-member critique group meets face-to-face weekly. When we met monthly, members often missed.
What works best for us--besides complete honesty, prayer, and abundant encouragement--is the uninterrupted forty minutes allowed for review of each participant's work.
Each member's manuscript, article, etc. is passed out, read, and given a twenty minute line edit/critique by the other members, followed by a twenty minute oral discussion of the highlights of each evaluation.
The time is watched by our group leader, Vickie Phelps, so everyone gets equal privileges. If a memberís writing needs additional help past the allotted schedule, extra time is provided as long as we are addressing an issue expressed by several members or a particular need the writer is having.
We are a team. Vickie Phelps, Jeanne Damoff, Donna Paul, Nanci Huyser, and Ruth Gilette keep me inspired. Their helpful suggestions tighten my work. Many of their ideas, wording, and, of course, grammar changes make it into print. I hope they smile every time they spot one. I know I do!
I also have a group I call my First Readers. These fine writers and friends provide a full manuscript read-through after the critique group finishes.
Sometimes working with a local critique group isnít possible. One way to solve this, and to avoid the common writerís plight of isolation, is to find a critique partner online. I recommend ACFW. I've received great story help and encouragement from my cyber-writing friends. Go to www.americanchristianfictionwriters.com for more information.
FINDING A CRITIQUE GROUP
I have several cautions to add about finding your own critique group:
Critique Group Tips from Pamela Dowd: