Walking in, I felt confident about my chapter (we worked on first chapters). I had edited it several times before and didn't think there was too much more that could be improved on. How very arrogant of me.
We each read our chapters out loud- something I highly recommend doing. That alone helped me catch a lot of crazy stuff that didn't jump off the screen when I'd been editing.
I wrote my character's name three times in three sentences? Did she somehow forget her own name?
I used our instead of their...I instead of she (I originally wrote my ms in first person). How did I miss that?
One of the reasons I love meeting with these women is how they shine a spotlight on my blindspots. Beautifully written (well, in my own opinion) paragraphs needed to be cut because they slowed down the story. Dialogue needed to be inserted instead of narration. A crucial scene of the chapter needed to be expanded with more interaction.
My one year old daughter decided to add her feedback to this page.
But the biggest reason I enjoy my writing critique group is I walk away (often- like last night- much later than planned) excited to get back to writing and editing. To creating and destroying my manuscript.And that is really the best thing a writing group can do for you.
What has participating in critique groups done for you? Any best practices you'd be willing to share?