So, I joined the SCBWI and decided that it was also time to join a critique group. I feel that I absolutely need that extra jolt of honesty and extra keen writing eyes.
On the 12th I met with four very lovely writers at a local Barnes and Nobles coffee shop. I made sure I was there early and had a latte in hand. I mean you just can't go to a critique at a coffee shop and not have a latte. Armed with a notepad and the only other critique that was being done, other than mine, I was ready. Well, mostly. My tummy was in knots and I'm sure my hands were shaking a bit as well.
It's not an easy thing to hand over your work to people you don't know and have them tear it apart. They made me feel at ease and welcomed me with open arms. That alone stopped the shaking and soon after that the nerves in my tummy died down as well. We discussed the new release of one of the members, Carol H. Behrman. Yes, I have a published author in my critique group. Bonus points to the group. Then we talked about China as one of the critters had just arrived home late the night before from a trip to China. Eventually we moved on to the critiques.
First, Carol went. She had a story that she wrote about 20 years earlier and had an extremely difficult time getting off her computer. I had no idea it was that old when I critiqued it, but wow was it good. It was a common sentiment around the group that we would like to have read the entire thing. I know I could have read straight through without putting it down. I can't wait to see her next portion of it for review. During the critiques the person whose work is being "torn apart" is not allowed to say a word. We sit there and take in all the advice given. After everyone has "torn it apart" we are then able to defend anything we want.
I was nervous, yet at the same time I agreed with everything they said I needed to work on. I'm so glad I had this opportunity and can't believe I had thought that I could go without a crit group for so long. What on Earth was I thinking?
Your Turn -> If you have a critique group what was it like your first time meeting them?