Tuesday, May 4, 2010

In Which We Discuss Online Crit Groups

So back when we were discussing crit groups, quite a few of you stated that you have online groups.

I find this very interesting and would like to know more.

How did you find your online crit group?
How do you exchange work? By email? Through a forum?
How do you handle crits? Do you just use Word's track changes, or is there another method you use?

If you do have an online crit group instead of a local meet up crit group, are you glad? D0 you wish it was a crit group where you could actually meet each other or do you prefer the distance of the interwebs?

I've never been part of an online crit group before and am just curious as to how you go about it so any details you provide would be awesome.

32 comments:

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

I don't have an online crit group. I do post some of my short fiction on Writing.com where other members write public or private reviews of each others work. We use a one to five star rating system as well as written feedback. Sometimes people are way harsh. Most times, people offer positive and negative feedback in a respectful manner.

As far as my novel-in-progress, I don't anticipate posting any of that online.

I look forward to reading what other commenters have to say on this subject. Thanks, Sarah!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I also want to hear about the experiences of others in this area. How I wish I could find a group in my area - I'd probably enjoy that method the best. However, when it's time, I may have to look into an online crit partner or group.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

I've never participated in online critiques. I've always paid for professional ones - that's only because at that point I had no idea what I was doing. Now that I've learnt so much, though, I think next time I probably would.

Don’t miss out on my contest!

Heather said...

Both of my crit partners are online, and I have a group of writer friends that I talk with as well, but that's not necessarily a crit (we have a chatzy chat once a week where we discuss issues we're dealing with in our writing, but not everyone has read everyone else's work - but we all know what everyone is working on.)

With both my crit partners, we exchange via email. I leave comments using the "comment" feature in Word (which is also available in Pages on a Mac), though one of my partners simply writes in a different color font. Then once we're done reading, we send it back, look over the notes, and start a series of emails where we ask questions and bounce ideas off each other. I do sometimes wish I had an IRL crit group (I participated in a 10-person one at a conference I went to and it was awesome), but with the emails it's nice too because it gives me time to reflect on the comments and brainstorm before responding. I met one in an online forum - we'd been chatting for awhile and seemed to get along, so I asked if she wanted to trying partnering. The other approached me after reading my blog (and knowing that I read hers, too).

Tara said...

My online crit group uses a Google forum. We upload files for critiquing. Thus far everyone has used Word for their crits then reattached it.

Summer said...

I'm part of 2 groups, both online. For the first group, which is smaller, we upload our chapters to Google Documents, where the other members take them down and mark them up as they see fit, then upload them back and invite the the others to view. Then we have a Skype chat session every 2 weeks or so to discuss the critique and address any questions that anyone may have had in particular.

For the other, we use Google Groups and operate on a similar basis, just without the Skyping.

Of course I'd prefer a group in the flesh, but that just hasn't worked out for me.

I got into both groups when the founding member put out feelers and I responded.

j.leigh.bailey said...

I'm on one on-line crit group through Yahoo. Basically people who want their work critiqued upload a file to the group and then members would comment--usually via Track Changes or by highlighting, commenting, font color changes, etc. then they upload the crit back to the forum. This is nice in that it's sort of anonymous, and also in that other members can see how different people critique the same piece. So it actually helps a bit in the learning. Unfortunately, what is missing for me is any kind of discussion--not the defending my work kind, but goals of the story, the scene, whatever. Sometimes that is more likely to prompt suggestions and shared brainstorming.

That being said, however, I'm so looking forward to joining a crit group with live people and face-to-face interraction.

Teebore said...

I got nothing, but thanks for opening the topic for discussion, as I've been curious too.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've never used one either, so no idea.

Lola Sharp said...

I belong to an online group, which I started by asking in a blog post (as you know).

We also use Google Groups, and upload our chapters (in Word) on the group site. Everyone uses different ways to critique, as mentioned above:Track Changes or by highlighting, commenting, font color changes, etc.
We each put our initials on our critique.

So far we don't have any hard and fast rules, we just jump in and critique as much as we can.


As for why I started an online group, we will be moving back down south in 3 years, and I knew this way would allow everyone in the group to stay together no matter who moves.

I've been part of in-person groups before, but find the meetings always end up a chat fest (which is fun) and not enough real critique work gets done and discussed.


This is my first time with an online critique group, so I'm no pro, but I'm very pleased.

Southpaw said...

Great topic. I would also be curious to know how those who are in an online crit group chose their partners. I would think that would be hard.

Natalie said...

My crit group is online only (we met in real life once when we all attended SCBWI in NY). I wish they lived next door to me so we could meet in person all the time, but I love the group dynamic we have.

We met after one of the members posted an invite on her blog. There were 10 girls at the beginning, but after a month only the 4 of us were left (which is good-10 would have been way too many).

We trade MS through email and we use track changes for critiques. Sometimes we read each other's work in sections and sometimes we read entire manuscripts (which is SO helpful before submission!)

They are fantastic.

Kay said...

I'm doing both kinds of critique situations -- on line only and face-to-face -- though I haven't posted on critique sites.

In my area, I'm lucky to have a well run writer's organization for writers of all levels. At the conference, I connected with a couple other fantasy writers. We've been meeting for over a year.

I've also connected with a couple critiquers through the AW Water Cooler who are good (and a couple who didn't mesh).

In all cases, different individuals focus on different aspects of my writing that need improving.

Falen said...

thanks everyone so much for the input!
and yeah, my IRL writing group is often a chat fest, but we spend like an hour chatting, adn then we get down to business

G.~ said...

I so wish I could meet people face to face once a week or something.
On-line can be a great alternative though. I am a member of Writer's Digest.(communitywritersdigest.com)

I have met so many great people through that forum but I think actual contact is best. Well, for me anyway. I need to see people's expressions and hear tones of voice. I also need them to see mine. Unfortunately there are none in my area. I struggle.

Alexandra Shostak said...

My crit group is online, and it's very small, just me and 2 others. We found each other online (twitter, actually), though we have plans to meet in person several times this year. I've never had an in person crit group, so this is the only way I know how to do it. What we do is track changes, sometimes we'll include an email or a document with some overall thoughts and comments as well (depending on what sort of critique we're doing.) A lot of times we google IM about plot and revisions and stuff, too. I really like it!

Matthew Rush said...

I don't have a crit group - yet. But I correspond with several authors who do and they all sing their praises.

I would really like to join one but I am massively re-writing my MS and need it to be ready for crit first.

Karen Amanda Hooper said...

Well, just read Natalie's comment and you'll know the story of how I found my crit group. :)

I agree with everything she said. I love my foursome and wish they lived next door. They are priceless. :)

Shannon said...

I don't have a crit group per se, but I do have independent crit partners who are both online. We just email.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Yes! I love my crit partners! We met online, but they're the two most supportive people on the planet. We'll be meeting up for the first time next month and again at a conference in LA in July! We always exchange work through email (and just use comments and track changes), but we talk all the time chatting, texting, and on the phone. It's been one of the best experiences working with them.

Jen said...

I wouldn't mind having an online crit group and one that means in person, I would just need to do my reserach.

Right now I have an online one, and I just chose one person I had trusted over the blogosphere and emailed them. I took a chance that they were at the same stage that I was, and sure enough they were. We added two more from there and have had a great time since. We use Google Docs and make a copy and revise on our own. Then meetup to discuss it all! It's done wonders for all of us!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I belong to two online critique groups. One I met at a conference and we formed a group (the wad) and the other I met through a mutual online friend (Mark one). One group does tracking changes on emailed documents. The other group is just getting started. We're playing with google documents right now, but I'm not very confident with it. I trade ms's with a few blog friends that I've never met too. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

I met my crit buddies through AQ - Agent Query Connect. It's an awesome site for aspiring writers - so many helpful people! I don't know what I'd do without them :)

Shelley Sly said...

I only recently (in the past month) found online beta readers -- actually, one awesome blogger found me, and we formed a trio with another awesome blogger. We send our manuscripts via email, comment on them by typing in the MS itself, and then email them back. So far, it's been excellent!

I also have a new online beta reader that I just exchanged with today. She and I also found each other through our blogs.

I haven't had an in-person critique group, but I'm moving next month and would like to find a group in my new town.

SonshineMusic i.e. Rebecca T. said...

We tried to start up a crit group with a group of us at work that all write, but it never got off the ground for a number of varied reasons. I often wish I did have something like that, but I've never considered an online one. Interesting to read everyone's input here.

Palindrome said...

I'm glad wehave an actual group but the online ones seem interesting. And may be useful if I have to move away with Sam. Sad.

Falen said...

thanks everyone! All of this info in really useful and interesting.

Palindrome - sigh. I keep forgetting about that. great. now i'm sad...

Teebore said...

Ah, she's not moving anywhere.

We won't let her.

Palindrome said...

I highly doubt I'll be going anywhere but I have to be prepared. *sigh* It's at least a year off so there's hope.

Falen said...

there had better be hope...

AchingHope said...

Now I want a crit group more than ever. I tried starting one through e-mail, but it's hard to do when people don't actually e-mail (is e-mailing out of fashion now, or something?)

Falen said...

Aching - not as far as i know. I'd probably use email over any of the other options

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