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?

 Elizabeth M. Thompson leads Inspire Christian Writers. She enjoys connecting with other writers via Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. She has an active home which she shares with her fabulous husband Mike, three children, two dogs and a few errant dust bunnies.

Elizabeth is a passionate Bible student, gardener and competitive karaoke singer, though she’s never tried out for any reality TV singing shows.