What do we want to achieve from our critique group. The goals are as various as the people involved.
- BUTTERFLIES -They view their critique group as a social opportunity. A time to talk shop. In fact it might be their only time to talk to someone about the writing profession. Or maybe their only chance to talk to people at all.
- SOAKERS- View the group as a mirror, soaking up their reflected greatness. These people attend the group hoping, in fact needing, to be told how good a job they are doing. How great a writer they are. They live for this affirmation like hot house orchids thriving in heavy humidity.
- DESTROYERS - They attend these meetings for the opportunity to critique. They revel in the sickening desire to tear down and destroy other’s work. Unable to create themselves. They must destroy all others that do. If they can’t succeed then, by god, no one will.
- DABBLERS – These attend only occasionally and rarely contribute finished product. But they can impress their friends with stories about their writing group. Things like “I was at my writing group the other day and we were discussing the merits of Hemingway versus Faulkner.” Dabblers aren’t aware enough to realize their friends could care less.
- WORKERS – These are the people that want to get better. They regularly submit, hoping to learn and improve. They worry about craft, plot, and grammar. Sweating over every aspect that might make the story better. These are the people that are going to help you. Seek them out.
Your objective with your critique group is to staff it with only workers. Eliminate all of the others. They are only slowing you down and getting in the way of you becoming a good writer.
My current critique group is made up only of workers. I was very lucky to get invited to join. Believe me, you will see the difference instantly. The focus is on supporting each other in getting better. That should be your goal.