By Keith Fisher
Are you part of a critique group? Several months ago I wrote about my dreams for a group that would meet once a week and help each other write correctly. After the LDStorymakers conference, I became part of one that exceeds my dreams. It’s great to get together with other writers who understand, but I discovered an added benefit I hadn’t planned on.
We patterned our group after the example we saw at the conference. The group that J. Scott Savage affectionately calls “The Ladies of Wednesday Night”. When we meet, we bring a copy of what we’re working on for each member. We mark each other’s manuscripts as the author reads it, then we discuss why we marked it.
I was editing today and discovered several places that needed changing. I knew this because members of my group have drilled it into my head. I went ahead and made the changes in my manuscript. Then I began to pore over the marked suggestions from the group, and found I had already changed most of the mistakes.
It’s obvious my group is helping me. I hear their voices when I’m writing, and I fix the bad sentence before it appears on my blog. I’m learning how to write, but more importantly, I have a group of friends who care about each other. When one of us is going through a problem, everyone is there to help.
Have you found a group yet? In our group, we have two published authors who lend experience. We have a beginner, but you’d never know it because of talent. Two of us are on the verge of greatness, and then there is me. In honor of President Hinckley and his ‘B’s, I listed a few of my own below.
Be humble—accept the fact you might be wrong. Be helpful—make helpful suggestions. Be open-minded—not everyone writes the way you do. Be quiet—don’t try to re-write their book the way you would write it. Be yourself—remember you are the only one who decides how your book is written. If you don’t agree with a suggestion, you don’t have to follow it. However, keep the first ‘B’ in mind.
Good luck in your writing—see you next week