I studied industrial design in college, and one of the most memorable components of the course material was the critique. Led by the instructor, we’d engage in a whole-class discussion of every piece created by the students for the latest assignment, and I remember going into most of these with a certain amount of dread. I’d heard stories about professors who’d pull work off the wall and silently (and dismissively) let it fall to the floor.
Luckily, I had mostly caring instructors who doled out constructive criticism, but the fear surrounding those critique sessions remains planted in my memory.
Today’s critique groups don’t work like that, thankfully. A critique group is a carefully chosen group of supportive artists and/or writers who are working on projects in the same genre you are. The idea is that everyone in the group both shares current projects with the other members, and provides constructive criticism on everyone else’s work. There should be lots of give and take, and members are expected to stay current on the state of the publishing world so realistic options can be kept in mind and discussed. After all, we all want to reach our target audiences with our work, right?
Critique groups can meet in person on a set schedule, or online in a forum or other web venue. There is no right way to create or maintain a critique group, but certain best practices can help keep members focused on helping everyone in the group achieve success.
Let’s discuss the topic of critique groups during the next #storyappchat, set for this Sunday (June 30) at 9:00 p.m. Eastern/6:00 p.m. Pacific time. Just begin tweeting using the #storyappchat hashtag to take part!