The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Critique Group Secrets *

        Every group of writers has their own "method to their madness," their unique way of working.

        For example, the critique group I belong to decided that the pieces do not get read aloud. Each story, every essay... **they stand on their own, unable to benefit from the writer's inflection and expressive voice. After all, we figured, that's how a story will have to make its impact if it gets published---read by the reader, silently, in the bathtub familyroom...or the bedroom.

       One problem that was solved easily by Lynn was this: how do we know for sure when everyone in the group is finished reading and scrawling out their comments? None of us wanted to jump the gun and begin too one wanted to step on anyone's toes or appear too eager.

        After jotting down our last suggestion, our last bit of praise, we'd give sneaky, side-glances at each other. Ooops, I don't want the rest of the WWWPs to think I have so little to offer that my critique offerings are meager...I'll make another short notation. Then we'd look around again at each other. Is she gazing up to consider how to word "Good grief, Sioux. This piece is a sure-cure for insomnia. You should patent it" or is she daydreaming about how sweet it'd be to steal Schmeagol the Cat and make him her own? You're not sure...

       Lynn, Queen of Craft, took paint stir-sticks and decorated them. Now it's almost a joke..."Is your stick up?" if one of us is obviously finished but forgot to hold up their stick or stick their stick in-between the chair cushions.

        Recently, Lynn upped herself and gave us each these wooden faces on a stick. We all said we'd decorate them but only over-achiever Linda (she was feeling high after receiving her 197th Chicken Soup acceptance letter) followed through. (I actually think she chained her cutie-patootie granddaughter Nicole to the kitchen table and made her color it, but the police have been out to her house to check it evidence was found.)

        On my next post, I will unveil my "Sioux-on-a-Stick" (not to be confused with the international sensation, Cathy-on-a-Stick).

         What clever ways has your critique group found to work more effectively? What solutions have you found? Other writing groups are curious... 

* There are inside-jokes our group tosses around that must remain secret. Jokes about frozen legs of lamb, a woodchipper, a nail gun, the benefits of having a personal trainer, how scary trips to South American countries can be...the list is endless.

** I slipped in as many ellipsis as I could, as I am trying to draft a story without a single ellipsis. My OEA support group (Over Ellipsis-er Anonymous) said it would be a step forward in my recovery...(Ooops.)


  1. Ah! The talking stick!

    An excellent compromise/decision.


  2. You must be exhausted after that elliptical workout! I have always coveted Cathy-on-a-Stick. I am very jealous that there are now WWWPs-on-Sticks. I must invent Val-on-a-Rope. Or perhaps Val-in-a-Handbasket.

  3. You'll know I'm done reading when I stop yawning and start fidgeting.

    Your friend, Tenured Pedant Cat :-P

  4. I raise my stick to you, Sioux. You never cease to make me laugh.

  5. Oh speaking of sticks, wonder if I'll have time to decorate mine now that you reminded me... and if you keep rubbing off on me... I'll be heading to OEA too... cause you know... they are addicting...

  6. Can't wait for the unveiling...!

  7. When I saw the title of this blog post on my own blog, my heart pounded, my palms began to sweat...I couldn't get here fast enough...

    Funny, funny stuff, Sioux.

    p.s. My stick face is still not decorated. But that gives me an idea...

  8. Wow . . .

    Can't wait to see Sioux on a Stick . . .



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