What is a Critique Group

So, these next few blogs are part of a talk I gave on Critique Groups. Take it as it was meant, a personal investigation by me of critique groups. This first section is all about defining critique groups and naming the different kinds that are available. Enjoy.

A critique group is a group of people who review, analyze or comment on your writing.  It can be a group that meets once or regularly.

What’s in it for me?

Critiquing is useful when you know that your piece can be better, when a turn of phrase isn’t right or one of your characters isn’t ringing true. If you believe that a particular piece of your writing is perfect and that there is nothing more to be done, the critiquing world is not for you.

 Those few people who write perfect prose within a vacuum possibly don’t need to be critiqued. Most of us do.

Why subject your baby to this kind of criticism?

If you want to improve your writing, you need to be critiqued.

If you expect to be published then you need to be critiqued. It’s important to submit the best work you possibly can to an editor or agent.

We all want to be told our writing is wonderful and perfect as is—never happens.

An editor is not going to pat you on the head and rave over your every word.  A writing group is to help reduce those pesky rejection letters.  And yes, expect that you’re not always going to be patted on the head. If you’re in a group that only applauds your writing, it’s not doing its job.

Types of Critique Groups

Open Critique Groups

Formal classes, a class that assigns grades

  • Santa Barbara City College
  • Ventura College
  • UCLA, UCSB, etc.
    • UCLA offers many children’s writing classes


Informal fee-based classes

Adult Ed

  • Anne Lowenkopf’s writing class at SB City College, small reading fee, otherwise free.


Classes run by authors/editors/agents

  • Val Hobbs sometimes offers a writing class
  • Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference’s Marcia Meier runs a workshop.


                                    Online  Classes           


Informal critique groups online


This is a group for YA writers to post their initial chapters and get feedback from other authors and from Teenfire Sourcebook editors.

There are many, many places online to get critiqued, but be careful putting your work out on the Web. You don’t have control of who sees it or what they do with it.


by invitation only, online meeting group through Yahoo! Groups for SCBWI members  who are looking to start or join a critique group or manuscript exchange.

Local resources

  • libraries,
  • bookstores

Closed Critique Groups, by invitation only

Private on-line critique groups

Private groups that meet regularly


~ by Gwen Dandridge on July 8, 2010.

4 Responses to “What is a Critique Group”

  1. I had so many fits and starts trying to find a critique group. It literally took a year and a half before I fell into a good one.

    I love my critique group 🙂

  2. Yes, it does feel great when you find one that works!

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