Tuesday, November 15, 2005

The Rise and Fall of Critique Groups

All of last year, I was an active (obsessive? possessed?) participant in a fantasy writer's crit circle on Forward Motion. The support, camraderie, and honesty of this wonderful group of writers enabled me to complete "The Wings of Winter" in under a year.

My crit partners each had projects of their own and I learned as much offering them critique on their work as receiving it for my own work. The styles varied widely as did the points of view, ranging from first person, to third person limited, to omnicient.

We also utilized live chat to problem solve, share snippet of work in progress, explore characters, and form a cohesive group.

Somewhere along the way, participants began to drop out from active critique. Life and other responsibilities got in the way, some personality clashes developed, some participants weren't in a place where formal critique was helpful to them.

We still nominally exist as a critique group, but there hasn't been a core of activity in several months. I miss the intensity of the early months of the group, but understand there is a natural lifespan to groups of any kind; an ebb and flow.

No matter what happens to the 'formal' group, I will always be indebted to the members of 'the Dreamers' without whom I would not have completed my first novel, much less attempted a second.

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