Critique Group info video transcript

Women’s Fiction Writers Association is thrilled by your interest in our critique group matching service. This is a free service provided to our members to support you in developing your manuscript.  

Please watch this entire video for an overview of the program before signing up. In it, we will discuss whether a critique group is right for you, how matches are made, and your commitment.

We believe that most writers benefit from feedback from other writers and readers. It is often difficult to see our own work clearly and an outside perspective can help shape our manuscripts more efficiently. WFWA offers several options for manuscript feedback. Consider which might be the best for you.

One program WFWA offers is a mentorship program. This is an opportunity to work with a published women’s fiction author. If you are looking for one-on-one support from an experienced author, this program might be a good fit for you.  Check out our website for more information. 

For those who have a completed manuscript and are looking for writers to provide one-time feedback on that manuscript in its entirety, the second option requesting this in our Facebook group “WFWA Critique Forum”.

The third option, critique groups, is the focus of the rest of this video.  WFWA forms virtual critique groups with three to five fellow writers. These writers meet regularly online. Each group determines its timeline, some meet over several months, and others even meet for years. They share their manuscripts in parts for feedback over time and provide feedback to the other members of their group. This option is best for people who are looking to build relationships with other writers while giving and receiving honest feedback. Success in our critique group matching requires members to be willing to go with the flow. If you have highly specific needs around book content or scheduling, then this probably isn’t the best fit for you. 

When creating critique groups, WFWA attempts to match people with similar writing experiences. While there will likely be some variability, we do our best to make sure that at least some members within each critique group are in the same ballpark. 

We also take your manuscript's classification into consideration by asking you to identify it as either commercial, upmarket, or literary.  Commercial books are fast-paced reads with high marketability like romance novels and cozy mysteries. Literary books are thick with description and poetic prose. Upmarket books fall somewhere between. 

Another consideration in the formation of critique groups is the subgenre of manuscripts. Your manuscript should first and foremost be women’s fiction (meaning that an emotional transformation of the protagonist is at its core). Sometimes women’s fiction incorporates elements of other subgenres, like romance, mystery, and fantasy. When possible, we connect writers who overlap within subgenres.

Finally, we consider whether your novel is contemporary, historical, futuristic, or explores multiple timelines and attempt to match accordingly.

We will make the best matchings possible within each application pool and with the information we have. These matchings are unlikely to be perfect.  This is where you come in.  You will be asked to give your critique group a chance for six months, as it is difficult to replace people in critique groups once they’ve started. 

The WFWA toolbox on our website has examples of how successful critique groups have operated. Ultimately you will need to meet with your group to decide together how often you will meet, how many pages you’ll critique, and what the critique process will look like. Your flexibility will be necessary. Groups evolve over time and you may choose to tweak the process as you grow and learn. 

The nature of critique groups involves providing and receiving constructive feedback. This can be difficult to do. The WFWA toolbox provides some guidance around this skill. In general, a member of a critique group will need to be prepared to listen to feedback about ways to improve your manuscript without getting hurt and defensive. Furthermore, you will need to provide feedback to others in a manner that is supportive, respectful, and helpful. The ultimate goal is that members improve their manuscripts in a community that energizes them rather than tearing them down.

Registration for critique groups opens up for one month three times a year. Matchings are made within a few weeks of the close of a registration window. 

Thank you for watching this video and for your interest in our critique groups.  If this program sounds like a good fit for you and your manuscript, then please fill out the registration below and welcome aboard.  We make every effort to place everyone who registers in a critique group. In the unlikely event, we are unable to find you a match, we will reach out to explain and provide you with options. 

Best of luck!