Focus on Writing Groups: Critters Workshop

When you become a writer, one of the things you begin to obsess about is this: is my writing any good? Soon after, you run into another problem: you're afraid to let anyone see your writing, simply because you're afraid it's no good.

It takes some writers awhile before they're ready for just anyone to read their writing. So, when you read the advice to join a critique group, it may seem intimidating to join a face-to-face group.

I'm part of a live critique group I joined a few months ago, and it is a great experience. But for some, due to time constraints, a remote location, or just plain reticence, an "in-person" group might not work.

An online critique group solves all those problems. You can critique when you have time. It doesn't matter if you live in Antartica. And you don't even have to use your real name.

One such group is Critters Workshop. This is a critique group for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. It's free, and very effective. Critters boasts about 350 members. You'll critique someone's short story or novel chapter about once a week (Don't worry if you hate horror, or one of the other genres. You'll get to choose which story you critique.). And when you receive a critique on your own work, you'll get at least 15-25 separate critiques, averaging 800 words each.

If you've got a completed novel that you'd like to edit before submitting to agents, Critters Workshop can cover you there. Put in a Request for Dedicated Readers, and a group of Critters members will sign up to read and critique your entire novel.

Some Critters members are published novelists. Others are published in short fiction, and many are on the road to publication.

I was a member of Critters Workshop for about a year, and it was a great experience. Mainly, I learned how to do a better job critiquing others. I submitted some of my own work, but that's not a requirement. If you love to read, you may end up doing more than one critique a week.

The Critters site has testimonials from members who have benefited from the group. One such member is the prolific fantasy author Sherwood Smith. See? You'll be in good company.

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