The Writers on the Journey critique group first formed in April 2006. Back then, the group consisted of five aspiring authors: Margaret, Fran, Susan, Nannette, and me. We met at one of Charlotte Cook’s creative writing workshops (Charlotte’s website) and struck up a friendship. Once the class ended, Fran and Margaret proposed that we continue to meet to encourage one another in our writing.
Over the years, the composition of the group has changed as former members left to pursue other goals and new members joined. If you’ve read our bio pages, you’ll see that we’re a fairly diverse group. You can’t pigeonhole us by genre, manuscript length, or audience. In spite of our many differences, we all share at least one common experience. We’ve all been students of Charlotte’s workshops, and her critiquing philosophy informs our meetings.
Submissions for critique are distributed or emailed ahead of time to give everyone ample time to read. We read each submission beforehand and come prepared for discussion. We begin by reading excerpts that we particularly liked and thought were well-written. The critique continues with a discussion of story, arc, and what works in the manuscript. We follow that with offerings, noting passages that were confusing and giving suggestions for improvement. Our goal is a balance of honest praise and constructive criticism, acknowledging strengths while encouraging growth. With each revision, we hope to be one step closer to a polished manuscript and one manuscript closer to becoming better writers.