Monday, September 2, 2013

COSCBWI Meeting August 2013: Creating Critique Groups

August's COSCBWI meeting focused on creating critique groups.  Critique groups are very important for both writers and illustrators.  In addition to gaining valuable insight from your partners, it can also help you stay focused on your goals.  During our meeting, we discussed some points to consider for creating a successful critique partnership.  These included:
-Think about where you are in your writing and what sort of feedback you'd like to receive.  Are you a newbie looking for general feedback on your story, or are you a seasoned writer who wants line-style editing?  
-Consider how much time you have to commit to a group, and how you want to share your work.   Will you critique an entire novel at once, or share chapters each month, or plan on writing so many pages between meetings?  (Or anything in between!)        
-Also consider how you would prefer to meet. Some groups like to meet face to face, while others prefer online correspondence. 
-Be respectful of the other members of your group, and remember that sometimes critique partnerships simply don't work out.  Try trading a small amount of work first, such as a first chapter or one picture book manuscript.  If you all find each others' feedback mutually helpful, great!  But if not, it's okay to part ways and try to find a better fit.
-Honor your commitments.  If you agree to critique someone's manuscript, be sure to follow through.  Critique groups can't be one-sided, and everyone needs to do their share of the work.  
-Give the type of constructive critique that you would like to receive.  Not only will your partner thank you for it, but you will benefit from the process, too, and learn how to better critique your own work.

After the discussion, members participated in critique group "speed dating."  The members dispersed into smaller groups  and "interviewed" potential critique partners.  It was all in good fun and very casual, and gave members the chance to see if other COSCBWI writers would be a good fit for a critique relationship.
After the "speed dating," Regional Advisor, Linda Miller, talked about the COSCBWI Member Exhibition that will take place in November.  Now that all the illustrators have done their part for the gallery, it's the writers' time to get creative!  Each illustration has been put online at COSCBWI's temporary website,  Writers can choose one piece and write a short work for it.  Guidelines are also on the new website under the header "Exhibition."  The deadline is September 30th, so it's time to get writing!  ;)
If you would like to learn more about COSCBWI, you can like the group on Facebook or visit the website listed above.  The next meeting for illustrators is September 11, and the next general group meeting is September 25.  I hope to see you there!

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