Smart Dummies

Online Critique Groups

Leila Nabih created a fantastic critique group guide. You can find an adapted version of her original post on page 3 of the Smart Dummies booklet.  To see the original guide go to Leila’s website here. here:

If you haven’t registered for Smart Dummies go to the link below. You can get a copy of the workbook on this page!

A few of you signed up for critique groups. If you did not sign up for a critique group you are welcome to find your own on the Smart Dummies page here:

Here are a few answers to some of the questions you may have about critique groups!

1. Are online critique groups safe? 

They are probably about as safe as any other form of sharing your work. The best way to get better with your work is to share it with other people. I wont say there is no risk involved, but anything worth doing takes a certain amount of risk. 

2. How do we keep in touch? 

>This is completely up to you. I’m currently in two active critique groups. One is on the 12×12 forums and one is via email. The forums filter into my emails which is usually a great way to get my attention. Facebook Messenger is ok, but some things can get lost if there is a lot of chat.

3. How should we share our work?

There are a lot of ways to share your work. Email was the big thing for one of my critique groups for the longest time. We still sometimes send things through email. but sometimes a critique can be missed. I do like Google Drive with a shared folder. This way you can check the folder instead of digging through email messages to find a document. You can also create a private Facebook group for sharing. Neither one is wrong and I use both a lot!

4. What if I hate the story I’m critiquing? 

There is good in absolutely everything in the world. Maybe it’s the way someone describes something, or maybe the idea of the story is good, but the structure is off. Shine a big light on all the good things your critique partners are getting right. If it’s something so horrible that you can’t get past, please talk to your other critique group members (or me) about the problem. 

More Tips

  • You are not here to change your partner’s stories — you are here to make them better. 
  • Focus on the good of the story you are reading. 
  • Don’t tell your partners that they shouldn’t be writing or illustrating. That’s not up to you to decide.
  • If you think someone is being overcritical about your work take a day or more) before you reply to them. It helps to show the work to other writers/illustrators. Sometimes a comment seems overcritical even when a statement is true.
  • Be nice in the way you present things to others.
  • If someone is truly being overly critical or downright mean, then remove them (or yourself) from the group.
  • You should feel good about your critique group. If you don’t, then something is probably wrong. Talk to me or a friend about the problem if you don’t know how to proceed! 
  • If you have any triggers let your critique partners know. Also ask your critique partners about their triggers. That way your critique group will stay a safe space.

If you have questions about critique groups let me know below. I’m sure I missed some things, so please let me know that as well. If you know of a post that presented something better, or that has additional information, please feel free to drop a link below!

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