Guidelines

Welcome to the Denton Writers’ Critique Group!

Who We Are and What We Do:

We are a group of committed writers who share the ultimate goal of publication. We bring in our writing for critique from other writers to improve our craft. We focus on prose, not poetry: specifically fiction and creative non-fiction. We’re happy to have you!

Guidelines:

  • You must be 17 or older to attend.
  • First time visitors are required to attend one meeting as observers before they can have their pages critiqued.
  • Please silence and put away your cellphone. If you need to take or make a call, step outside.
  • Please be aware that if you are late you will not receive critique that week, although latecomers are still welcome to come critique others.
  • Critique is a give and take; it is unfair to ask others for feedback if you cannot stay to offer your own. Therefore, if you leave early you cannot have your pages critiqued that week unless you get prior approval from the board.
  • Drinks are allowed provided they have a screw-on lid. Small dry snacks are allowed (ex. peanuts), but must be properly disposed. (library rules)
  • Please remember to critique, not criticize. Critique should always be about the work — never about the author. Always be respectful of other group members. This means phrasing things tactfully, giving your full attention to someone’s work, and refraining from arguing (disagreeing is always okay). Keep in mind that everyone’s style is different, and that just because it’s not your taste doesn’t mean it’s not a valuable piece of work!

 

Group Structure:

  • When you come in, please sign the attendance sheet and record whether or not you brought pages that week. This helps us divide up the time.
    • If you would like to be included in our occasional notifications about the group (meeting cancellations, policy changes, etc.), you can add your email address.
  • Our meetings start at 7pm. You must sign in by 7 to have your pages critiqued. We wrap up at 8:45 so we can be out of the building by 9. That leaves about 100 minutes for critique.
  • The time is divided evenly among those wanting critique; we set a timer to insure everyone gets their fair turn. If there are more than 8 people present, we divide into 2 groups. Each group consists of a few anchors (always in the same group), and the rest are drawn at random.
  • You do not have to bring work to attend the group. If you do want something critiqued, please bring 6-10 copies of your writing for critique, font size 12, double spaced.
    • Since we often have to share copies, front-printed-only is helpful.
    • You may bring as many pages as you want, but please be aware that we may not have time to get to all of them, depending on the volume of work that day.
  • Writers without pages for critique are still welcome to come give feedback to others.
  • Please do not refrain from giving your suggestions; everyone’s feedback has value. You do not have to be an authority on a subject to have a valid opinion.
  • You may ask someone to read your selection to the group, read it aloud yourself, or have everyone read silently. (Most of our members choose to read silently.) Each participant will mark your story with their suggestions and return it to you at the conclusion of your time limit. There will be a brief amount of time for discussion and feedback aloud.
  • Due to the time constraints, not everyone will get a chance to say everything they think about a piece. To ensure the writer gets your feedback, please write down all thoughts and comments you have so they can read them when they get home. It’s also helpful to write your name at the top of their stack of pages.

Anchor Guidelines

  • How it Works: the big group typically divides into 2 smaller groups for critique each week. Anchors remain in the same mini-group every week for a 2 month period (everyone else is assigned at random).
  • To volunteer to be an Anchor, you must have attended either 5 of 8 or 6 of 9 meetings for any prior 2 month period.
  • The reminder for sign-ups will be sent  out on Tuesday 2 weeks prior to the first meeting of the new cycle.
  • Sign-up requests must be sent to the Anchor manager by Friday prior to the first meeting of the new cycle.
  • Anchors must attend 5/8 or 6/9 meetings during their 2 month anchor cycle.
  • If you do not meet the attendance requirement during your Anchor cycle, you will not be able to sign up for the next cycle. Additionally, you will have to meet attendance for a new 2 month period before you may sign up again.