I’ve already written about my wonderful, face-to-face writing group that I have here in Rome. I look forward to those meetings every two weeks and enjoy the company of a talented group of American writers in Rome.
But I tend to write a lot and need a way to keep myself on-track with revisions. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be pretty quick with a creative burst of energy during the writing phase (my favorite part), and then I can allow a project to languish for ages during the heavy revisions phase (hate it!)
This is where Critique Circle comes in. I discovered this virtual writing group a little over a year ago and I’ve been active on the site ever since. I’ve met lots of great writers and critique partners, learned an amazing amount, and gained so much as a writer by critiquing others’ work.
Still, when I first joined I was a bit wary. I’d already tried one online critique site, YouWriteOn, and I quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. Although I received a handful of useful critiques, the vast majority were written by critiquers who gave me the definite impression that they’d only read the first couple of paragraphs. I was also surprised by the number of people who wasted critique space telling me they don’t read my genre … so why don’t I switch to fantasy or science fiction or something they liked more? In theory, the system of randomly assigning pieces to critique partners is interesting, but in practice, there is no real interest in the story of someone you’ll probably never read again.
Critique Circle, on the other hand, has queues of stories week after week, so you can create lasting critique relationships and follow a story from week to week, and comment on plot and character development throughout the story arc. It also works on a point system, but the critique chooses the stories he or she wants to critique, and I believe it fosters a more collaborative approach to workshopping.
I’ve met so many talented writers on Critique Circle and each one brings different skills and observations to the critiquing process. I value this input tremendously, and don’t know how I’d face revisions without the help of my wonderful critique partners.
There are a lot of online critique groups out there, so don’t get frustrated if you’re not pleased with one site’s approach. Keep looking and you’ll most likely find one that’s right for you.
For me, Critique Circle will remain my trusted place for tackling those awful revisions. Thanks to all my great CC partners for their much appreciated help! They’ve worked wonders in improving my work, and I know I could never face dreaded revisions without them…