How Do Critique Groups Work?

Critique groups are the backbone of Inspire. Where the magic happens. Where inspiration, perspiration and determination face the music. Where writers discover their work is brilliant or fit for the compost heap.

It’s like a twice-a-month American Idol audition.

Are you nervous yet? There’s no need to be.

When you bring your writing to an Inspire critique group, you can be sure of three things:

  • You’ll get honest feedback.
  • The writers giving the feedback care–about you, your work, and your success.
  • You’ll be a better writer because you participated.

So, how do our critique groups work?

Each group meets regularly, usually twice a month. Writers submit their manuscripts to the group several days in advance. Then the writers critique each manuscript following our Critique Guidelines.

The writers bring the critiqued items to the group meeting and share their feedback. These are the guidelines we use:

  1. Always begin and end with something positive or encouraging.
  2. Offer suggestions for repairing things you think need changed, being sensitive and gentle. (“Speak the truth in love.” Ephesians 4:15)
  3. Don’t talk about commas, spelling, etc. Mark, but don’t mention.
  4. Offer constructive criticism on clarity, not style.
  5. Give both general and specific feedback. Be as constructive as you can.
  6. Resist the temptation to mention something that has already discussed.
  7. Feel free to say nothing.

See, it’s nothing to be nervous about.

If you’re not in a critique group, you may find one in your area on our Groups Page. If there’s not one near you, we’d be happy to plug you into an online group. Our currently-forming online critique groups will operate much like our in-person groups.

What questions do you still have about critique groups? Are you in one? If so, how has it helped you develop your writing skills?

About Elizabeth Thompson 44 Articles
Elizabeth M. Thompson writes contemporary nonfiction, articles and devotionals using her experiences as a Bible teacher, wife, mother and grief navigator. She also enjoys speaking at writer’s conferences and women’s ministry events. Although her background includes marketing and education, writing has always been a driving force in her life. She is currently pursuing publication for her one-year grief devotional book, When the Waves Crash. Her most rewarding adventures to date include her marriage to Michael, parenting her three children, and serving Christian writers through Inspire. Her publication credits include articles published by Focus on the Family, Today’s Christian, and contributions to Whispering in God’s Ear (Waterbrook 2005) and Inspire Promise (Inspire Press 2014).