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Writing as a Group Activity – Critique Groups

By Janice Alonso

Give Your Writer Resources: Article Eight

Writing classes instruct writers on particular topics. These topics can be as broad as “So You Want to Write a Book? What a Novel Idea!” (the actual name of a course I took at Emory University through its continuing education program), or as specific as “How to develop Characters through the Use of Dialog.” Classes may address other issues: “Finding an Agent,” “Promote Yourself through Facebook,” or “How to Write a Query Letter.” Writing classes usually begin and end on a certain date, last a definite period of time, and have a syllabus that addresses a new aspect of the topic at each session. Writing workshops are similar in that they, too, address general and specific topics related to writing, but as a rule they meet in a concentrated time block. Critique groups differ from writing classes and workshops. A critique group is an interactive session where writers read and discuss each other’s work. As with writing classes, I’ve had good and bad experiences. If used correctly, a critique group can strengthen your writing.

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