My Take on Critique Groups by Robin Martin – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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My Take on Critique Groups

I’ve been in a few critique groups over the years and I’ve found there are a number of factors that determine their usefulness for a writer. I think you first have to establish what your purpose is. If you just want a support group, a cheerleading team, that’s fine. Look for some like-minded writers and share your work. I’ve been in that kind of group and, while the collegiality was great, I discovered it wasn’t what I needed. Most of the people saw writing as an enjoyable hobby rather than a profession. I wanted constructive feedback that would help me improve my writing.

I’ve also been in groups where the feedback was brutal, no holds barred. While honesty is a good quality, cruelty is not. One of my most unpleasant experiences in a writing group was when a writer was not merely criticised, but ridiculed. That’s never okay. A critique should be respectful, making it clear it’s the work being criticised and not the writer.

The group I’m in now has a good balance. We are all YA writers, so we understand the genre, and we have guidelines for critiques so they are useful and help us to improve our writing, or at least get another person’s view. And, it’s important to remember it is a point of view. If one person says something about your work, you can take it or leave it. But if three or four people say the same thing, then maybe it’s time to take notice. Another good thing I’ve found about critique groups is they enable you to network and share news about what’s happening in the writing community. I’ve also had a few beta readers from my group, who have given more in-depth critiques on my work, and that’s been invaluable.

So, I guess the take on this is, if you’re a writer who is considering a critique group, decide what you want from it and find the group that best fits your needs. Most writers need feedback, and sometimes having a compatible critique group with a shared understanding of purpose can be a valuable experience.

Mischief, mayhem, and magic hit East Valley High when Pandora, the rogue alien, turns up. This sassy alien has one agenda, to have as much fun as she can before her people realise she’s gone rogue and materialised on Earth in human form without their permission. Instantly popular, Pandora charms students and teachers alike as she parties her way through the term, but still aces her studies. Even Rion, is influenced by her as he begins to question whether he is still more alien than human. He and Zoe are finally together, but for how long? Zoe has worries too, especially about her mother’s health. Everything is changing in this final year of high school. Zoe and Rion are crazy about each other, but can their new relationship last not only the ups and downs of human problems, but alien ones too!

Enjoy an Excerpt

The music changed from an Ariana Grande pop song to the opening chords of a much older Deep Purple track my previous host, who had been around in the 60s, had listened to. I was surprised because I didn’t think many teens knew it today. Then I heard the thump of heels on wood, and I looked over to see Pandora on top of the coffee table, starting to dance and turn circles. Catching my eye, she stopped and lifted her glass. ‘This one’s for my favourite alien, Orion,—“Space Truckin’.” Woohoo!’

I sensed rather than saw heads swivel in my direction. I felt dozens of pairs of eyes on me. How could she do that? How could she blurt out the one secret I’d tried so hard to hide? I felt the blood drain from my face, and I dropped the can of cola I was holding as the opening lines of the rock song blared out. Pandora downed her drink, threw her glass into the crowd, and started to dance again.

Then I heard laughter and someone, I think it was Chad Everett, say, ‘Good one, Pandora. We always knew he was weird.’

About the Author: Robin Martin is an author and teacher, who writes both adult and young adult romance. Originally from Canada, she now lives in Brisbane, Australia. Her YA sci fi romance series, The Alien Chronicles includes My Alien, The Alien Within, and Once an Alien.
Her adult books published under the name Robin Thomas, include High Stakes and Bonjour Cherie.

A member of the Romance Writers of Australia and Write-Links, for children’s and YA writers, Robin also connects with writers and readers on her author’s Facebook page or on her website.

Facebook | Website

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