Or trees…or anywhere else.
Ideas grow inside each and every one of us. The problem is…they aren’t always good ideas.
I have one particular scene in one of the first books I wrote for publication that I wish I’d nixed. Or, at the very least, done differently. And I think of it far too often.
Good ideas can definitely emerge and flourish when people put their heads together.
Brainstorming is one of the greatest benefits that can come from having a good critique group. A good idea can be expanded upon until it glows with innovation and creativity.
A bad idea can be squelched before it becomes an embarrassment.
A critique group isn’t just about grammar or punctuation, although those are great fringe benefits.
A good critique group can inspire a writer to be a better author. A bad group can tear a writer down. That doesn’t mean that what the group was saying wasn’t right. They just didn’t give their criticisms in a palatable way. If the intended can’t swallow their delivery…what good is it?
No group is perfect! If anyone says they are, don’t believe them. Every group needs to find a way to work in harmony. Some do it better than others.
The group I’m a part of has gone through many transitions. People have come and gone. In the beginning four newbies gathered together with great expectations. For the most part, we did well with one another. Several of us made rapid progress.
We did, however, have some contention and eventually we lost one member because she moved away, and then another because her criticism was too harsh, and a third because she didn’t share the load. Others filled the vacated chairs.
I had the perception of being isolated because of this individual while the others looked on.
However, that was my perception ..it doesn’t necessarily mean it was true. Do you have a perception of a group that may fall short of the truth?
Taking advice, even if it’s very, very good advice can be humbling. It can hurt. We can’t fall in love with what we’ve written or we could be headed for a big letdown. That doesn’t mean we’re always wrong. A crit-group can develop a herd mentality. And the lead cow could be herding them in the wrong direction.
There always seems to be a head heifer or two. I may even be one.
And sometimes a head heifer can hold the herd back, stymie their growth. I believe I may have witnessed that a time or two in my search for the perfect group or a supplemental group.
I said that no group is perfect and I stand by that statement. Although I wouldn’t trade my girls (The Butterscotch Martini Girls) for the world. Because even if they aren’t always right…they help me zero in;
They keep me connected.
And loved…yes, there is that too. The people in your crit-group can become friends for life.
I met and formed my group from a local writer’s association. I’ve since moved away from them and don’t get to see them every other week like I did in the past. But they are still my group…just two thousand miles away.
A group can go through many changes, but the only true cautionary advice I have is that if you have a member who isn’t writing, or isn’t giving good critiques time and time again, it may be time for a re-evaluation. Critique groups aren’t social clubs.
It’s where we can hit the mark.
It’s where we can zero in on good ideas and make them shine!
It can be like coming home or hell…
It doesn’t have to be face-to-face. It’s harder to do via the internet, but you can make it work.