Critiques

The Columbia Chapter of The Missouri Writers’ Guild encourages groups of writers to meet regularly in order to provide group analysis and coaching aimed at improving the craft of creative writing.

At this time, we schedule Critique Sessions as part of monthly meetings approximately every other month. There have been some discussions about adding a monthly critique session to provide more regular critique opportunities for our members.  If you are interested, please let the officers know at ccmwgemail@gmail.com.

We also host Critique 9000, which is a more intensive opportunity for peer critique that runs January-March each year. For a $5 monthly fee, writers can submit up to 9,000 words for critique from the participating group for a total of 27,000 words by the end of March. Writers can submit novel excerpts, short stories, creative nonfiction, etc. The submissions can all three come from the same work in progress or from three different works.

In August, the guild foregoes its monthly meeting in favor of genre meetups. Participating writers divide into groups by genre (poetry included) and meet on their own for a more intensive critique. This event is free to guild members and the dates for each group are set by the individual groups. Members are free to participate in more than one group.

In addition, if you are interested in participating in a Group for another writing form or genre, please contact the Chapter and we will make every effort to bring together writers with similar interests.

Both poetry and prose (narratives of any length of both fiction and non-fiction) are welcome for meetings containing critique sessions. We aim to encourage writers to build on their strengths with respectful help from other writers who recognize that each person has an individual voice and unique life experiences.

CRITIQUE GUIDELINES

Manuscripts:

  1. Prose (fiction & non-fiction) manuscripts should be typed and double spaced – no more than 10 pages–approximately 3,000 words.
  2. Poetry can be single spaced with no poem being longer than 2 pages.
  3. Bring at least 5 copies of your work.
  4. Prose manuscripts are limited to 1 per person per critique period, poetry 3 poems.
  5. The leader will decide whether works are to be read out loud or silently. Generally poetry will be read aloud and prose silently.
  6. The leader has responsibility for limiting length of time for responses to a work.

Critique Method

  1. Comments you write on another person’s work will be taken very seriously.
  2. Balance your responses: be sure to write what you feel the writer is doing well AND what the writer can improve upon.
  3. Honesty and directness in your own voice are of more value than teacher talk.
  4. If you have a particular skill in grammar or line editing, this is helpful. However, only give this feedback if the author indicates his/her desire for such.
  5. Telling the writer where you are confused, when you are moved, when a particular passage causes you to stumble and read again can be of great help.
  6. Remember – you are doing critique, please do not demand changes of the author. Give your opinion with respect and courtesy. Everyone has the option of using or discarding your suggestions.

 To the Author:

  1. Suggestions in a critique are simply that – SUGGESTIONS – You are the author; make the work your story.
  2. Just because someone finds fault with your work does not mean that another reader would agree. Writing is a subjective business. We’re entitled to our opinions whether or not we choose to agree.
  3. While being critiqued, authors should listen quietly. Then, if necessary, explain a specific point, doing so after all critiques have been given.