I joined the critique group that I belong to now way back in 1981. The critique and members have changed over the years, just as I have as a writer.
Way back then, even though I’d already written several books—and one even got published the very next year—there was lots I didn’t know about writing. Marketing was a topic I hadn’t even thought about.
The biggest plus of belonging to the group in the beginning was learning lots more about writing. I learned how to make dialogue that moved the plot along and revealed character, and sounded realistic. I learned the importance of character development. I learned how setting could influence the plot. And one of the most important things I learned was more about point-of-view.
I also learned how to critique other people’s work in a helpful manner. Critiquing others made me see errors in my own work.
Today I think of my critique group as my first editor. The members hear each and every chapter. Because we bring enough copies of our chapter for each person to write on, besides giving oral critiques, they can also find typos and write notes on them for the author to peruse later.
Frankly, I would be disappointed if my fellow authors didn’t find mistakes or give suggestions as to how I can make the chapter better. If they didn’t, there would be no point in my going.
Our group is also good about sharing marketing ideas. I’ve done presentations with various members of the group.
And perhaps, even more important, is the members of this group have become good friends. We are a diverse bunch. I’m the only mystery writer. One of our members is a retired Honors English teacher and she’s written and published several books including a romance and a YA. Another, a grammar school teacher, has a couple of YA books published and is writing another. Another of the women has self-published a memoir and is writing her mother’s biography while another young woman is writing about her experiences of having Valley Fever. On the male side, is a rancher who writes a weekly column for the newspaper and is writing a YA. And we have a pediatrician who is writing stories about his childhood growing up in India. Young and older, male and female, they each have a different perspective of the work being read.
One other value of the critique group is, at least for me, knowing that I have a meeting coming up each week keeps me writing ahead, so I always have a chapter to read.
They heard and commented on each chapter of my latest book in my Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Murder in the Worst Degree.
Blurb: The body that washes up on the beach leads Detectives Milligan and Zachary on a murder investigation that includes the victim’s family members, his housekeeper, three long-time friends, and a mystery woman.
Contest: Once again I am offering the opportunity to have your name used as a character in a book if you comment on the most blogs during this tour for Murder in the Worst Degree. Tomorrow you can find me at Earl Staggs’ blog. The rest of the blog tour stops are listed on my website.
F. M. Meredith aka Marilyn Meredith is the author of over 35 published books. She enjoys writing about police officers and their families and how what happens on the job affects the family and vice versa. Having several members of her own family involved in law enforcement, as well as many friends, she’s witnessed some of this first-hand.