Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Three Tips on Finding a Critique Group

Critique groups are vital to a writer’s success. Family and friends can tell you they like your story. They might even be able to give you some suggestions on how to improve it to their taste. However, they might not be able to provide the right kind of feedback, or maybe they are uncomfortable telling you something is downright awful.

I’ve been a member of different critique groups for more than a decade. Some have been online or via email. My most recent group meets monthly at our local library. If you’re looking for a critique group, here are some helpful tips:

Decide what kind of group is best for you

This might be tough at first, especially if you’ve never been part of a critique group. Questions you might ask yourself are:

• Would I prefer an online group or a group that meets in person?
• Am I looking for a group where we write to prompt and then read what we wrote?
• Am I looking for a group where members read something they have previously written?
• Is it important to me to be in a group where all the members write in the same genre?

Ask questions

Before joining any group, don’t be afraid to ask questions of them too.

• How often do you meet? If it's an online group: how often do members submit?
• How many members do you have?
• Am I expected to read each week?
• How many pages do members submit?
• How long has your group been meeting?

Sit in on a meeting

If the group meets in person, contact the facilitator and ask if you can observe a meeting. This will give you an idea how the group runs, how the members interact with each other, and what type of feedback you can expect.

As to how to find out about actual critique groups: check out writing associations you belong to, attend a conference or retreat and network with other writers, or check in with your local librarian or bookstore manager. There are plenty of online groups as well.

Critique groups help you see your writing in new ways. They inspire you to continue when you're not in the mood. Consider critique groups an important support team no matter where you are in your writing career.

Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of Little Shepherd, A Christmas Kindness, Macaroni and Cheese for Thanksgiving, and Amos Faces His Bully. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at and her children’s book blog at


  1. Cheryl, these are great tips on choosing a critique group. It's important to know that not every group is a good fit for everyone.

    1. Thanks, Karen. I'm glad you found this information helpful.

  2. Cheryl - This is a refreshing view on finding a critique group. I appreciate the positive angle, instead of the negative slam some folks portray. In my experience, most critique groups are very helpful. Very nice message. Thanks!

    1. I'm glad you feel that way Renee. I've been very blessed to have great critique groups. I've heard a few horror stories, but once you find the right fit, you realize how important a critique group is.

  3. My writing group is also my critique group, which works well for me. Plus, I have several people who read and critique for me.

    1. That sounds perfect, Vivian. A fresh and objective set of eyes is important.