Wednesday, July 6

Are You Looking for a Critique Group or Partner?

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

It's Crit Time Again!

Back in 2013 I started a Yahoo Group called "Janice Hardy's Critique Connection" to help writers connect with like-minded folks looking for critique groups or partners. It was designed to help people find long-term, quality writing partners, not just places you can toss up your work and get quick feedback.

It went from a one-time thing to annually, and now to every six months (I open it up every January and July). If you're looking to join or create a group, add more to your existing group, or find a critique partner, odds are you'll find someone here.

Just to be clear, I'm not personally critiquing anything in this group. This is for writers who are looking for critique partners or critique groups for more than just "I need some eyes on this before I submit it to an agent" type critiques. I'm solely a facilitator to help people connect without having to post their email addresses online, which some folks are hesitant to do.

How This Works


If you'd like to join the Yahoo group, simply email me at janice [@] janicehardy [dot] com, and tell me what you write and what you're looking for (group or a partner). I'll send you an invitation to the group and add your information to the master list of members. You'll join and send a hello email, start talking to others and see who writes what and what everyone is looking for.

There's a master list of members and what they write in the "Files" section, and I'll update that daily as new people join and send me their information. Since the list has gotten huge over the years, there's now a "Past Members" list, and it's okay to look there as well if you don't see a good match on this year's list. You can always ask if a past member is still looking.

This is all private and by invitation only, so random folks googling "crit groups" won't be barging in or anything. You can come and go as you please. Once you find fellow writers to work with, feel free to drop the group if you'd like. It might take a few days for people to sign up, so if it's quiet when you first join, be patient and more will appear. The first week or two is usually busy, and it slows down by week three as everyone matches up. It's always available for members (I don't close it), but it's usually only busy during January and July.

(Here's more on finding the right critique partner)

Interested in Starting Your Own Group?


One of the tougher parts of creating critique groups (aside from finding people to join) is finding a place to host it. Unless everyone is local, there's no central place for people to share their work.

I've had great luck with Yahoo Groups for this. I've been in three different critique groups using this service, and it makes it a lot easier. You can invite people to join, have a forum and a site to upload work and critiques, and email the group as a whole. Everything is private and you can control who joins.

Ideally, people will join the Critique Connection group, hang out and meet compatible writers, then break off and form their own Yahoo group. It's easy peasy to create one, and people can even leave a description of their group on the CC site if they're looking for more members. Of course, they're free to meet up however works for them as well. Partners could just email each other, for example.

(Here's more on the benefits of a good critique group)

Critique Commitments


If you've never been in a critique group before, it's good to know that there are commitments to be made. Each group sets its own rules, but for a group to work and run well, people need to adhere to those rules. For example, I've had groups that turned in X-words every X weeks for works in progress, and groups that read whole projects at once over a predetermined time frame depending on the size of the project (five days for short stories, three to five weeks on novels).

It's not a bad idea to think about what you want and how much time you can spend. A hard-core group that wants to submit a chapter a week won't work for someone who wants a once-a-month schedule. People looking for plotting and story development help for first drafts want different things than writers looking to polish finished drafts.

(Here's more on getting the most out of a critique)

Plus, quality critiques take time. If it takes you two hours to critique a chapter, and your five-person group submits a chapter each every two weeks, that's twenty hours a month for the group. If that's a commitment you can't make, that's not the right group for you (and there's nothing wrong with that, everyone has different needs and available time).

(Here's more on putting feedback to good use)

Going in prepared increases your chances of success.

So that's the deal. Anyone who'd like to find some fellow critiquers can let me know.

37 comments:

  1. Awesome idea, Janice. Critique groups are so important. I have a fantastic online CP who lives where I do and we've gotten to be friends. And I'm in the process of starting a small critique group that will hopefully meet once a month. I like the face to face interaction.

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  2. Wonderful! This may be exactly what I need. Thanks Janice!

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  3. Thanks for offering this! ... something, to consider. I'm curious how many people reach out to you now about this.

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  4. Thanks for setting this up, Janice. I'll send you an email immediately.

    BTW, the Falling for Fiction blog is also holding a CP matchmaking service next week.

    http://falling4fiction.blogspot.com/

    Thanks again!

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  5. Thanks guys! It was something I'd been thinking about for a while and I git nudged into it (yay!) so I hope it works out.

    Ken, how cool. I guess it's crit group season!

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  6. One resource you might want to share is VivaScriva.com, a group blog about critique and the writing process that I contribute to. :-)

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  7. This is great I've been wondering about getting some critique partners for a while.
    Quick question though- do I need an account/email address with Yahoo to join your group?

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  9. Oh man. I messed up my comment. I like the idea of a private (ish) group to meet and feel each other out and find a crit partner. I've sent off my email too.

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  10. I'd love to be in a critique group, but I do worry about the time commitment.

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  11. This sounds brilliant! But I also think I will invest in some research before I start jumping into commitments

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  12. Barmybex, I don't think so. Just an email address. But if you have trouble let me know.

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  13. Thanks for the advice. I will look into Yahoo. My critique group is an infant. We connected mostly through an SCBWI conference, but we live in a huge state with miles and miles between us or states. One member lives across the ocean.

    Our group functions online, and I've been really happy with it. We all made agreements about our expectations in advance. The feedback is wonderful.

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  14. Thanks for putting this together.

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  15. Rubianna, mine started out like that, and it's been six years now I think. The internet makes it so easy to get together, and distance doesn't matter.

    Rexa, most welcome. I hope it works out for everyone.

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  16. I'll be sending you an email shortly! 😃

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  17. This is great, Janice! Sharing :)

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  18. Thanks once again for this, Janice. It's how I found my SFF crit group the first time.

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    1. Awesome! It's up to 60 members already, so hopefully lots of folks will find a good partner or group.

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  19. luigik123@yahoo.comJun 29, 2015, 10:40:00 AM

    Hi Janice,
    Just what I'm looking for . . . partner or group. I write mainly Adventure/Romance suitable for YA to Mature Adult. I have 4 done but am snow blind from searching through them and rewriting sections and need an outside opinion . . . .

    luigik123@yahoo.com

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  20. Janice, huge grin. The last time you opened the doors to the Critique Connection, a working dozen of us formed the Fantasy Faction (which includes SF!) One of our members suggested Trello as an option for our numbers. It has proven exceptional. Teaser Alert! Janice has agreed to do a Google Hangout with us at a yet to be set date. I will send invites to all CC members who would like to join us. We have several members who have published & are getting ready to do so and plan a group blog as more of us 'come online.' CC has been a world class gift to all of us.

    Janice, thank you again!

    Morgyn
    @morgynstar
    http://www.morgynstar.com

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    1. Hi Morgyn, I missed out getting into this group last time. I'll get on Janice's list again this round and try again!

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  21. Please sign me up!
    Just what I've been hoping to find!
    ~Lisa
    lbmerz@cox.net

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  22. Janice, I'm looking for a critique group but I'm not far enough long with my book yet. I want to make sure that I can adhere to any rules that there might be. Please repeat this post in 6 months. I should be ready to commit by then.

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  23. I was referred here, and can't tell you how excited I am to possibly find critique partners. I have sent you an e-mail with my contact information. Thanks again Hank Petterson

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  24. Hi Janice, I sent a message last week, but not heard anything? Am I too late? jolambwritingpad{at}gmail{dot}com.... thanks

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    1. Invite has been sent. Sorry about that, I had a conference this past weekend and didn't get a chance to invite the couple of new folks. It's still open, it has just slowed down now with people asking to join :)

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  25. Do you have to be a yahoo member (have a @ yahoo dot com) email address to participate?

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    1. No, you do not need a Yahoo account.

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  26. Thanks for sharing! I do believe having your work critiqued will make you a better writer. Being open to constructive criticism is something writers, even those who've been in the industry for a while, should take seriously.

    https://www.chatebooks.com/blog-Book-Critique-4-Reasons-to-Get-Expert-Criticism-for-Your-Book

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  27. Oh me me me! I've been waiting for this, and already sent an email. Thank you!!

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  28. Just sent off an email. I really hope I can match up with someone who likes dark, dark, paranormal.

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  29. Yes, exactly what I was looking for, I can't wait to learn how to write better.

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  30. Your help is beyond thanks, Janice. Sign me up with a critique group focused on suspense thrillers. Christina K Gross, author RESCUE THE INNOCENT @christinakgross christinakgross@gmail.com http://www.christinagross.com

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