Thanks everyone for chiming in on yesterday's post! I'm so glad I was able to get everyone's wheels turning.
Today, I wanted to address the pros and cons of a critique group. I am now a part of a critique group since my friend I referred to yesterday is still dealing with other priorities in life. I'm so glad I found them and have found a lot of wonderful feedback so far. I also like how we have our rotation set up. It's not too rushed and no one has a heart attack if we are a day late. Or if we need to take a week off.
Different opinions: Some people find this a little scary. Trust me, it's not. So far, I haven't found so many different opinions in my manuscript between five people that it's overwhelming or riddled with marks. It's been my experience that when you find two or more people point out the same thing, it's valuable. Take your time to really look at it. You also have to keep in mind that everyone has an opinion. I won't remind you of the saying. :0) Some of them are right for your story, some of them might not be. Don't feel guilty if you don't agree with Susie's comment about your MC sounding too young/old/right/wrong in a certain sentence. It's not the end of the world.
Different backgrounds: Each person's history, the place they grew up, their parents and their lives shape how they read a story. I love that. They will ask questions you might not have thought of. They can help enrich your story.
Time: The way our group works is through email. This makes it a little slower than I personally like, but then I find it sometimes saves my butt. LOL I have a week to critique each manuscript, which also gives me plenty of time to work on what has already been critiqued or what is next for me to send. Like I mentioned earlier, I also have a group of understanding ladies. This helps when I'm super busy, especially during the holidays, etc..
There are many ways to take advantage of a group too. You can use online chat engines such as gmail, yahoo, aol, Google Wave...you get the picture. This allows you to not only critique each other's work, but discuss it as well. It gives you a chance to present what your trying to do if someone questions you, or to find out if more people agree with a problem area. It can be invaluable.
Groups are a more organized effort, and you have more than one other person to think about. You generally need to wait your turn and can't send off bits and pieces on the fly (unless you find a group that is okay with that). So, if you desire more constant attention that would be something to think about before joining a group. Or a good question to ask, at least. :0)
Anything you would like to add/offer/ask?