Words of wisdom from one of my favorite authors, Cindy Huff~~~
I am a strong proponent of critique groups. A well-run group can transform a novice into a pro. When I knew I needed other writers around me to hold me accountable I began to pray. I wanted to do better. Reading craft books and attending a conference once a year wasn’t enough.
While taking online classes with the Christian Writer’s Guild I heard about critique groups. The value they brought to the writing craft. Word Weavers was recommended as one of the best. Originating in Florida about 20 years ago it has spread across the nation and Canada.
I called and begged them to hook me up with a local group. There were none in Illinois at the time. Under their direction I started a group in Aurora, Illinois. Now there are about half a dozen groups shattered through Illinois. A few years ago online groups were started for those who live to far from a group. It is also open to existing members. Twice a month critiques works great for me.
Word Weavers primary goal is to help Christian writers get published. Their method has produced hundreds of published authors. After attending Word Weavers and applying what I learned I found my writing evolving. I truly believe Word Weavers was the game changer toward publication.
Each Word Weaver chapter abides by a set of guidelines. The key to successful critiques is silence. Each participant brings six copies of a piece to critique. It can’t be more than 1500 words When chapter membership grows beyond six, the members regroup into units of 4-6 to insure everyone gets critiqued during the two hour session.
The technique is simple. My submission is read aloud by another member. The rest of the group mark up my submission as its being read. Then take a few minutes afterward to add notes. I always find grammar errors, POV and syntax stuff when I hear someone else read it.
Then each member spends a few minutes sharing what they like about the piece, what they think needs work and ends with another positive comment. The writer being critiqued is not allowed to speak unless asked a direct question. This keeps things moving and prevents arguments and long winded discussions. The writer can choose to implement the recommendations or ignore them.
Novice writers often get critiqued on some basics while more established writers get tougher critiques. This way the novice is learning without feeling overwhelmed. There is a feeling of accomplishment when each writer reaches the deeper critique level. No one can just come and critique. They must bring something to share. And only members can participate. Interested writers can come to two meetings and observe. After that they need to pay dues. Observers usually know by the second meeting whether Word Weavers is a good fit.
Some other advantages are developing a network with other writers. We share writing, marketing and publishing tips. Some groups have special speakers quarterly. The larger group have a yearly weekend retreat. Now one understands my need to write like other writers. Within a critique group strong friendships grow. These are the people who will help promote your work when the time comes. In the past few years Word Weavers has added accountability partners. Those members who want accountability can request a partner. I love my accountability partner. Knowing I’ll need to send an email to report my progress, procrastination or problems has help me strive toward more professionalism.
Cindy Ervin Huff is the winner of the 2014 Editor’s Choice Award from Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. She is a contributor to Splickety Publishing Group’s anthology and has been featured on Christian Communicator, Suburban Dog, ChristianDevotions.us, and Splickety Lightning Blog. Cindy is President of the Aurora, Illinois, chapter of Word Weavers. She and her husband make their home in Aurora, Illinois. Visit Cindy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cindyehuff, follow her on www.twitter.com/CindyErvinHuff, or connect with her at www.jubileewriter.wordpress.com.
Guess what?! Cindy is offering her newest release as a giveaway. I’ve read it—you don’t want to miss this! Leave a message to enter the drawing!
Jake Marcum’s busy ranch leaves him no time for courting, and his wounded heart has no place for love. When battlefield nightmares disturb his peace and his tomboy niece, Juliet, needs taming, somehow a mail-order bride seems like a logical solution.
Dr. Evangeline Olson has no idea her niece is writing to a rancher on her behalf, and she sure isn’t interested in abandoning her medical practice for a stranger. But when an inheritance threatens to reveal a long-buried secret, she travels west to become Jake’s wife.
Jake soon realizes Evangeline is more than he bargained for, especially when her arrival causes a stir in the community. As the two try to find their way in a marriage of convenience, their fragile relationship is further tested by cattle rustling and kidnapping. Can their hearts overcome past hurts to create a real marriage?