HomeWritingFloyd HyattGuest Post by Floyd Hyatt – Online Critique Group Part 1

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Guest Post by Floyd Hyatt – Online Critique Group Part 1 — 14 Comments

  1. These groups do need structure. I dropped out of a few because it was a hodge podge of people trying to sell their books and that was about the extent of their participation. Not much enforcement of the integrity of what the group was originally advertised to be.

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  2. For online writer’s groups, most of my experience has been with people who have gone to ProBoards.com and created fora there. I’ve been actively involved in one or another there for over three years now, and I find that being able to log into a site and browse through the offerings at my leisure works quite well. Frankly, knowing how YaHoo groups work, I find ProBoards actually far easier to navigate and use – both as an owner and as a mere member.

    Having other writers read and offer comments and concrit has become, for me, a far more valuable feedback than simply putting stuff up at a fanfiction site and then waiting for the Replies/Feedback from readers to trickle in. The fandom I’m currently active in is very discerning about many facets of creative writing, and so the concrit I’ve been getting has been very educational.

    I’d recommend a ProBoards writer’s workshop to anyone. The instructions on how to set one up are not great, but once they’re running, they pretty much take care of themselves. The workshop area itself can be locked down to only those who are registered members, there can be areas open to guests, discussions are threaded, quoting is easy, and there are a lot of real benefits offered.

    • Thanks for the input, Marlyn — and it’s GREAT to hear from you!! 🙂

      I detest fora. For some reason, they completely flumgudgeon me. I’ve registered with several, but cannot pick my way through them and have given up looking at any of them. My loss, I know, but my brain just doesn’t seem to get the logic of how they work.

      Maybe you could write a post for me on using ProBoards fora?

    • Hi, Nancy — GOOD critique groups are important. Toxic ones are worse than nothing. My writing group offers a panel at conventions called The Care And Feeding of a Writers’ Group, listing some of the qualities you want and some you definitely do NOT want. 🙂

  3. This set of posts will focus on the use of Yahoo Groups for setting up critique clubs, and processes certainly differ from one venue to another. Part two will point out a few basic dos and not-so-goods for using groups, just the hard won basics to think about – to get started on the right foot.
    F.A.Hyatt

  4. Very large groups likely need more formal structure than smaller groups. My groups tend to hover at between ten to 20 writers. However, the groups are kept clean of abandoned memberships, so the list does not accumulate a long index of members in name only. On the other hand, members are expected to return or leave as their activity level waxes and wanes. This avoids broadcasting member materials to largely uninterested mail recipients. Using files instead of posts further restricts the broadcast of materials to members actively interested in critiquing a particular file, (story), since files must be downloaded individually, instead of being automatically distributed to the entire list. I have found that smaller groups, with good focus, are more active per capita, (more posts per member) than large groups, safer, and form writing communities with better working relationships, that require less monitoring. Not to say there are not good, large venues, like Critters. But critique groups are not general chat lines, regardless of how much social interaction goes forward on them. They are for authors with materials hoping to benefit from the critique process, through the exchange of mutual effort. Such groups do not benefit from exposure to idle curiosity, or non-contributors. Sites can be structured for such purposes, but those structures will be different.

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