A Call to CP Action


A couple of weeks ago at the DFW Writers Conference, I attended a work session about creating and managing a highly successful & productive critique group.  I was so impressed with what I heard, of course I immediately wanted to form one. I've been part of critique groups before, both on-line and in-person, but for various reasons they've all collapsed or drifted apart, and I've even walked away from a few.  I've also used individual CP's, which have proven VERY beneficial, but I'm ready to take things to the next level.

So this is me asking if any of you might be looking for the same thing.

If you think you want to be involved, here's what you should consider.

A) I would serve as moderator and dole out guidance and discipline if and where needed.
B) The group would have a maximum of 10 members (probably start with six) with a mix of genres.
C) The group would meet at bi-monthly check-ins (every couple weeks).
D) We would use a secret Facebook page (and chat option) or Google + as our rendezvous point.
E) During our meetings we would go around the group and see where everyone stands, what goals they might have, inquire about immediate needs, and discuss any writings that are up for review.

Let me go ahead and answer some questions I think everyone will have.

Why a max of 10 members? Isn't that quite a few?  There will always be members who will out-of-pocket, on hiatus, or not currently writing -- in fact I will build the group with that in mind. Ten members would assure us a decent level of participation regardless of those type of scenarios.

How do we select the other members? Anyone to be considered would be asked to submit a ten page writing sample and answer a short questionnaire I've prepared that asks about their writing history and goals.  Active members will vote and majority rules.

What if a member becomes a problem? Someone may not hold up their share of the load by always submitting pages and never critiquing others.  Someone else might be overly cruel with their critiques.  Whatever the issue anyone has, it would come to me and I'll have a discussion with the member off-line to try and correct the behavior.  If that doesn't help, they will be asked to leave the group.

I'm concerned about over-committing myself and not being able to contribute fairly. What happens then?  This is a lot of writers concern when thinking about a formalize group.  I can just tell you two things, 1) I will do everything I can to keep things balanced and reasonable, and 2) you can always drop out if the pace gets to be too much.

If you have any other questions, or you're interested in joining the group, send an email to dlh.hammons@gmail.com

17 comments

  1. That's a cool idea. I just joined a similar group here online that's a little more encouragement-orientated, but the goal is the same.

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  2. If current members vote on accepting new members how will the initial members be chosen? Do you already have some in mind? I would love being the member of a small online critique group but I'm not sure if I would even be considered. What would be considered the initial qualifications? Whoops! I'm asking the same question again. :)

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  3. Good luck with getting the ball rolling on this! If I weren't so strapped for time then it sounds like a wonderful idea. I'll be cheering you guys and gals on from the sidelines :)

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  4. This is a great idea, DL. Critique groups are so helpful to have.

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  5. What a great idea...but then, you're always full of them!

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  6. That's a great idea. I would join in but I am perpetually overcommitted. Good luck!

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  7. If I were writing now, I'd join. I have several projects languishing for lack of renewed interest. I do love critiquing and assisting writers getting their projects completed to their satisfaction though.

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  8. I would totally love to come be a part. Would it be okay to send a 7 page writing sample instead? (Something I just submitted to an anthology?)

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  9. I would love to join. Does it matter that I'm still in research/world building for my next project and not quite onto drafting yet?

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    1. Not at all. We are purposely looking for writers at different stages of the creative process. The idea is that over time the ebb & flow will reverse roles and make it unlikely that we're all at the same point at once. Send me an email at dlh.hammons@gmail.com

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  10. This sounds like it will be full of awesome potential :)

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    1. Then come on board!! Send me an email.

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  11. Hi DL .. so pleased you're stretching everyone's boundaries .. the project sounds like a very interesting one .. good luck - lots of new ideas here .. I'll be keeping my eyes open on the ongoing idea .. cheers Hilary

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  12. I'm interested. Sending an e-mail.

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  13. I think you should handle this like Survivor. Make people send in audition videos and purposely pick some crazies so that it'll be more fun. Just kidding! Sounds like it will be a well-run and productive group.

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    1. I did pick a crazy...myself! And yes...it'll be fun. :)

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  14. You're an idea machine. I so need to be part of this, but I'm intensely self conscious (not of criticism--I love it--more of being surrounded by awesome talent relying on me). Plus, I'm usually ghostwriting and trying to fit in the odd moment with my own work between projects. I'd worry about letting peeps down. :(

    shahwharton.com

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