I was trying to figure out why my writing group is so successful and why it has made such a valuable impact on my writing and life. These thoughts concluded, as well they should have, on the fact that the people that make up this group are awesome. So I wanted to note what I love about each of these people and how they add to my writing. Maybe this well help you in your search for a similar group. Maybe it will help you in how you critique and view others’ work:
1. B- This person is incredibly insightful and may have one of the most expansive understandings of popular literature and cinema that I’ve encountered. Their ability to relate our works to other pieces, whether to praise what we’ve done or to give us ideas for what we could do, is unparalleled. I also think this person has a great sense of the “bigger picture”. I find myself so honed in on scenes sometimes, and they have an uncanny ability to zoom out and provide feedback on my piece and all its interconnected parts. That’s so valuable.
2. K – This person may be one of the best line by line critics I’ve met. When I’m going back through edits, I typically pull up their critique and make almost all of the line changes that have been noted. Then I go back and use their commentary to guide my connecting changes to the other critiques I’ve received. This person is also one of the most affirming people I’ve met as a writer. They do not hesitate to say, “This will be published” or “You are ready to be a published author”. Encouragement is great.
3. E – This person probably gets excited the most about my work. I genuinely feel like I’m writing a book and a good book when they respond to some of what they’re seeing with giddy joy about what a character is doing or will do or BETTER not do. They also seem to catch everything that everyone else misses.
4. P – This person is writing in the same genre as me and often points out where I’m following too closely to certain tropes, or happily notes where I’ve broken free of them. I often find this person has a fond appreciation of my work because we’re working in similar styles with similar stories and characters. This person also manages to find awkward inconsistencies. That’s an important thing that sometimes will slip by most people.
5. R- This person has a very, very unique writing style and tends to think technically about things. I can always rely on them to pick apart paragraphs and point out when sentence structures are being repeated too often or phrases are too common, etc.
6. J – This person doesn’t seem to BS anything. Not that anyone in this group ever seems to do that… But he is pretty blunt… Which is fantastic. I know that the things he sees as confusing were genuinely confusing. I know the things he thought were awesome were genuinely awesome. He also has a knack for writing some pretty hardcore characters and can give me great advice on how to push that envelope in my writing.
Now… does it make sense that this group, reading my work week in and week out, could make me better? Does it make sense that their understanding of literature and culture and life would have a positive impact on how I write? I could flounder about on my own, or I could dive further and deeper into the writer I was meant to be. I choose the second one.