I recently joined a critique training group. After several sessions of talking about expectations, how we should format our work and how we should edit it before submission, we shared several pages.
Joy. That sums up how I felt after the group read through a personal essay I planned to submit to an anthology.
A word struck one reader as all wrong. Another word struck several others as right. Every reader missed one descriptive detail — a signal it needed a revision.
Something as easy as changing "my favorite spot for lunch" to "my favorite lunch spot" made me float.
After reading your own work, you need a fresh set of eyes. We may write alone, but it's best not to submit or publish alone.
As I sat listening to each person's feedback, I made a notation in my notebook when I had the urge to explain my writing. If I needed to explain it verbally, it became clear I needed to revise my words on the page.
As a friend in a former writer's group would always say, "This is a writing group, not a talking group."
I look forward to more training and more critique work. I'm thankful I found a group. I know they will help me and I hope I can help them.
How about you — do you participate in a critique group?