Last Saturday I joined a critique group for a meeting. It was my second time. It’s summer here in Canada so we met in Trout Lake Park. But Vancouver, being Vancouver, it rained lightly. So we sat under a willow tree.
Writing can be a very lonely activity. You plot in your head and hope that your thoughts flow out through your fingers onto a screen. This group has changed all that for me. Each attendee is encouraged to bring along something they are working on. Something they would like to share with the group. It is read out and the group members make suggestions and each piece is carefully considered and discussed.
This has been of immense value to me. I get to see other perspectives of my story. Other group members, my peers, thought of aspects of my story that had never even occurred to me. I received back the copies of my story with thoughtful suggestions and hints, which will definitely improve what I had originally written.
I’ve also seen value in hearing what other writers have written. How they look at a situation and where they see a story. The value here is two-fold, what I see in the others’ stories but also the sense I get from being able to make a suggestion or find the right word that will help another writer.
The group is diverse. There are school teachers, illustrators, mums, dads, published authors, beginners. The unifying factor for the group is that we are all interested in children’s literature. The group operates under the auspices of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. SCBWI for short. We are part of the Canada West chapter. I am so glad I joined.
I’m looking forward to the August meeting. I hope it won’t be raining.
(G.Rosemary Ludlow 29 July 2017)