Get the Most From Your Critique Group

When you're in your critique group, listening to everyone's comments, do you ever get feedback that you don't like? Have you ever revised a story to the point where it feels like you've lost your way? Do you ever feel like no one gets your story? I can personally answer in the affirmative to all three questions. So, how do we know which feedback to incorporate to make our stories better?

 

Storyteller Academy Chief Operating Officer Amy Flynn asked a couple of her friends to share their critique group struggles. All three of them have advice to share from years of taking critique to improve their stories. We hope their advice in the following video will resonate with you.

Advice for “Feather in the Wind” Writers From Kristy Nuttall:​

Stop. Take a day to process the critiques. Ask yourself some questions: What's the heart of your story? What is essential? What am I willing to be flexible with? Which comments resonate with your vision for your story?

 

“What I found to be really helpful is just giving myself more time.”

Advice for “Stick in the Mud” Writers From Janet Johnson:​

Remember that each person critiquing your work is spending their time and energy to help you make improvements. Listen to what they have to say and give it serious consideration. You can always decide later how to incorporate the feedback. If a majority of a group sees a problem, then that problem needs to be addressed in some way.

“I like to try things . . . You don't have to keep changes that you make.”

Advice to Be a “Rock N' Roller” Writer From Amy Flynn

Step 1: Shut up. Resist the urge to respond. Take notes and let it sink in.

Step 2: Do nothing. Wait at least 24 hours to let your subconscious figure out what your story needs. 

Step 3: Stick to the heart. Every change should work toward that vision. Try different revisions to see which works for your story.

Bonus Tip: Use the Sandwich Method of critique that Janet described to be a better critique partner. Compliment what they're doing right. Ask questions about problems. List things you love to end the critique.

More Resources for Critique Group Members

Arree has some great advice for critique group members, and I have five tips as well. We even have a “Three Ways to Tackle Your Next Picture Book Revision” post to help you get started on implementing your critique group's feedback.


We hope you feel inspired to pull out some notes from a critique group meeting and tackle your next revision. Thanks for reading!

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Myrna Foster
Myrna Foster

Myrna Foster writes and edits content for Storyteller Academy and the WriteRiders Newsletter for SCBWI Nevada. She has spent a lot of time teaching and coaching children, including five years as a preschool teacher. She's also worked as a journalist, and Highlights High Five has published six of her poems.

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