Didn't know what I was missing, till I found you...
I love my critique group. We just got started and my own work hasn't made the rounds yet, but the sense of community already has me smiling--and working harder on my writing. There are six of us in Operation Awesome, which is just the perfect size for a writing community that won't overwhelm its members. I've joined a few writing sites in my day, but have always been overwhelmed by the obligation of reading and critiquing dozens of other authors in order to receive critiques in kind. Writing novels is hard enough without adding that kind of unnecessary load. Of course I love reading other people's writing, but if you've ever tried the quid pro quo atmosphere of writing.com, thenextbigwriter.com, or authonomy.com, you see what I mean by OVERWHELMING. It's like this:
And only after climbing that stack can you actually get back to your OWN writing, which is kind of important if you plan on making a career out of this.
A well-organized critique group has writers taking turns submitting portions of their novels, or the whole thing one at a time. As a member, I have weekly "homework" of reading and critiquing two other writers' work (a chapter or two) plus working on my own WIP. It's manageable, it's fun, and it's educational. In between, we have discussion about each book in an online forum one of our members created. This model has already proven itself to be awesome (Operation Awesome, hee hee). We're only one week in, and I've been introduced to two very exciting books, done some serious revision on my own WIP, and had time to read some of the published books in my TBR pile. I couldn't be more excited to be part of this group.
How did it come about? It was magic. Well actually, it was Kristal's idea. :-)
I was hanging out on http://www.querytracker.net/forum/ --a very cool place to be! And Kristal mentioned needing a group to motivate her to write. Don't we all need something like that? It took me a while to get back to her because of summer vacations, but when I did, everything moved really fast. I invited Amparo, who invited Lindsay. Kristal invited Angie and Kelly. After some entertaining name discussion, we settled on OPERATION AWESOME and Kristal made our forum on grou.ps.
Two of our members are agented. One is multiply-published, and one has professional experience as an editor. All are talented writers, just from what I've seen so far! I'm feeling lucky/honored/unworthy to be part of this group, but I ain't gonna complain. Here they are if you want to check out their blogs/websites and support their writing journeys:
Angie, agented by Jill Corcoran of the Herman Literary Agency
Kelly, agented by Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency
Kristal, in the agent market
Amparo, in the agent market
Lindsay, in the agent market
and then there's me, Katrina, also in the agent market. :-)
*whispers* We have a secret plot to take over the published world.