Author Tools & Resources

Writers Weigh In On the Value of Critique

Are you a writer? Are you yet to find a critique partner or join a critique group?

My first writers group experience was 18 months ago, when I plucked up the courage to join the amazing “Coffee House Writers Group” led by the wonderful Christine Marie Bryant. I was pretty nervous, but that woman is such a sweetheart. She creates an amazing atmosphere, ensures that everyone feels comfortable, and most importantly of all, the group is all sorts of fun. I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t been going regularly for 6 months (wow… I had no idea it was that long … time flies) due to work and family commitments and just general frazzledness.

In the year that I spent attending the meeting weekly however, I gained a sense of confidence in my writing, confidence in sharing my writing, and yes, my writing improved. A lot.

And so I founded Ladies Who Critique, a site for writers to find critique partners even if they are too busy (or shy) to commit to a local writers group. If you don’ t know why critique is awesome, and WILL improve your writing, read some of the many reasons below. All excerpts are taken from authors interviewed on the Ladies Who Critique blog.

“Let’s face it, our family and friends don’t have a clue what we’re doing…just that it takes a long time and doesn’t bring in much money.  The industry communicates to us through cryptic rejection letters that Sherlock Holmes can’t interpret.  Only the critique group feels your pain, shares your success, understands your progress.

A really good critique group will keep you in the game long enough to win…and throw a very nice little party for you when it happens.  That’s all we as writers really need or want.
Someone to say, “You’re good. Keep going.””

Joyce Sweeney, Author & Writing Coach

“I’ve participated in many critique groups over the last 15 years. My take-home has been in three parts:

(1) I became more sensitive to weaknesses in the writing of others, and therefore became more sensitive to those same weaknesses in my own writing

(2) I have often found some really good examples of ways to write something that I had not been aware of

(3) I’ve learned from other critics how to do a better job of critiquing. All writers (nonfiction and fiction alike) need feedback on what they’ve written. The least expensive way to get feedback on your writing is by participating in a critique group. It’s a case of “you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.” Well, at least in the clean sense of those words. You know what I mean.”

Victory Crayne, professional independent editor at

“I’m completely dependent on my girls. We cheer each other on, we give advice, we help with everything the other girls need. Queries, research, copy editing, reality checks, ego boosting, butt kicking… We’re there for each other every step of the way. Can’t live without my girls. I might’ve given up on my manuscript by now if it wasn’t for them.”

Gabriela Lessa, writer, editor, literary agent intern, journalist. 

“…when you consider not having your book critiqued, copyedited and combed through by a proofreader:

  • – consider how many times I thought my manuscript was good to go, when it wasn’t
  • – think about how bad it’d be to give a poison pen reviewer fuel for their fire
  • – imagine the most important person you can think of – your dream agent, your worst enemy, a producer on the Oprah show – reading it.

I’m sure you’ll change your mind.”

Catherine Ryan Howard. Author of Mousetrapped, Backpacked, Self-Printed & Results Not Typical. Blogger @ must read for self-publishers)

“In an industry where one in 15,000 manuscripts from an unknown writer is published each year, we need groups like this. Writers need a sounding board and a place to find comfort, bounce ideas and smile. Life without my critty girls would be much less fun and infinitely more frustrating.”

Julie Anne Lindsey, Author of  Bloom & Death by Chocolate, coming 2012. Find Julie at