Is Bigger Always Better?
Once you’ve finished writing a chapter, short story or a section of dialogue, you need to make revisions. Chances are your ass hurts from sitting for hours. The computer has blurred your vision. You’re tired. You need to rest.
A couple days later you return to your piece. The hair pulling begins as you read through your writing. You are too close to your piece to revise it objectively. What can you do? If you have a trusted friend to edit it, you’ve struck gold.
Don’t know someone who can edit?
Another solution: join a writers group. A writers group is a community of writers provides support, encouragement and an objective set of eyes for your writing. Submit your work and you'll receive valuable feedback to improve your writing.
Remember, these folks are your readers. They can lend insight to your writing: what worked; what’s missing. Best part, it’s a symbiotic relationship. The members provide free editing and revision services in return for your services.
Can you join any group?
Researching different groups will ensure you choose the most beneficial one for you writing needs. Location, focus and size influence the decision. Where and how far you are willing to travel to meet up with other writers is a pretty straightforward factor, easily decided. So is choosing a group to fit your genre of writing. You wouldn’t submit erotica to a children’s literature group. Again an easy decision to make.
The more difficult question is: does the size of the critique group matter?
Ultimately, it depends on you, but I’ve provided a few pros and cons for each group size.
Small Writing Group
- Submitting to a smaller group is less intimidating.
- The small group allows you to get to know the members well.
- It affords everyone a chance to submit every meeting.
- There aren’t enough members to give a variety of revisions.
- The feedback becomes stale.
- Smaller groups might spend more time socializing.
Large Writing Group
- A larger group provides a variety of perspectives during revisions.
- You can see patterns of what is and isn’t working.
- You meet a larger variety of writers.
- Less pressure to submit with so many writers waiting in line.
- It can be intimidating submitting to a large group.
- Larger groups have different personalities and opinions. This can cause squabbles, leading to discomfort.
- Your networking skills lacking? It can be more difficult meet people in a large group.
- You might not be able to submit every month. Depends on the amount of members waiting.
A writing community provides friendship in this lonely writing life. Your goal of writing a compelling and memorable story can be achieved by joining a writers group. Do your research to find which one matches your personality and writing. And don't forget to keep writing!
Do you prefer large or small critique groups?