Three Virgins Form A Ménage A Trois (Critique Group Style)

threevirgins I’ve always shied away f rom joining critique groups. I didn’t want the pressure of having to write a certain number of pages every week.  I didn’t believe myself capable of critiquing other people’s writing.  And I didn’t want my hopes and dreams squashed by the critiques of others.  (I know, I know…suck it up, cupcake!)

But recently two fellow chaptermates and I decided to give it a shot. None of us had critiqued before.  One is starting her first contemporary romance and has a masters in creative writing.  Another, relatively new to RWA, has finished an 80,000 word romantic suspense and now needs to revise and edit.  I’ve sold short stories but have yet to finish the damn book.

None of us had a clue about how to critique. We found articles on the RWA site and asked friends who belonged to critique groups for tips.  We discussed what we each wanted and needed from the group.  All we knew was that we got along very well with each other, needed new eyes on our work and needed weekly deadlines for motivation to write.

We met for the first time at a Mexican restaurant that serves killer happy hour margaritas because, well, margaritas. The first meeting was mainly about getting to know each other better and figuring out some ground rules.  And drinking margaritas, of course.  But we did also critique.

We’re still working out the details, making it up as we go. But holy crap, I love being in a critique group.  The ideas we’ve offered each other have made out stories stronger without changing our voices.  Our personalities mesh perfectly.  For the first time in years, I wake up in the morning thinking about my (untouched for way too long) book and the changes I want to make.

Due to personal reasons, I haven’t been writing for quite some time. I’m writing again.  I want to write. It’s been eight months since I last wrote an Editor’s Corner column. I’ve written a new short story that’s almost ready to submit.  And my book is knocking on the inside of my skull, trying to get out.

If you’ve avoided becoming critique partners or joining a group, give it a second thought. It rarely hurts to try something new, and it may just be the kick in the ass you need. It was for me.

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