If you want to be a writer, for children or otherwise, it’s really important to find a writing critique group. Right now, I’m a member of three different writing critique groups and each one has it’s own flavor, pros and cons.
There are lots of ways to find writing critique groups online, but if you’re interested in writing for children I suggest starting with the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators. My chapter, the Western PA chapter, has a decent list of groups listed on their website.
For writers in and out of Pennsylvania, there are lots of ways to find writing critique groups through Pennwriters. I’m in Area 3, and there are six different groups available to members.
If you can find a writing critique group in your area, you can create a critique group yourself. Ann Whitford Paul has useful suggestions on building one in her book Writing Picture Books: A Hands-On Guide from Story Creation to Publication. She outlines rules about timing, reading stories aloud, and not speaking while others are critiquing! It’s really useful stuff.
While an in-person group is by far the most valuable, in my opinion, it’s also possible to get useful critiques online. If you can’t find a writing critique group in your town or can’t build one, you can go online and join Scribophile and get some really useful feedback. The only requirement, just like belonging to an in-person group, is that you also give critiques to others.
No group is going to be perfect, without it’s strong personalities and hurt feelings. It’s unavoidable when we’re sharing things as personal as our stories! But it’s worth it. The feedback I’ve gotten from groups has been invaluable.
How did you find a writing critique group?
What are things that work best in a critique group, in your experience?