Ahhh, critique groups. Love em. And that’s from someone who, er, rather dislikes criticism. You want to learn how to write? Have five other writers critique your first chapter. Trust me. You’ll learn a lot.
The absolute best thing I’ve done for my writing is to join two critique groups: FF&P Mudpuddlers and KOD’s Lethal Ladies. FF&P is the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Online Chapter of Romance Writers of America (RWA). KOD is RWA’s Kiss of Death online chapter (mysteries and suspense.) Excellent, experienced writers read through your chapters and…help. And that old adage about if you want to learn something, teach it? Well, it’s true. Edit other works, and yours gets stronger.
Is it difficult? Heck yeah. Does it burn when you get a critique back and there are more green comments than original prose on the page? Oh yeah. Is the critiquer probably right? In my case, they have been. And I have no doubt that I would not be on my way to seeing my first book on the shelves had I not joined these groups. I was a head-bopping, passive verb lovin, random dialogue tag user when I first started writing over a year ago.
I have also unexpectedly made some very good friends that I’ve met in these groups. My husband isn’t sure they really exist – he thinks my computer talks to me. But I know they’re real. And I can’t wait to meet some of them at the RWA national conference in July.