Thursday, July 2, 2009

Critique Groups -- Raintree Writers

Because my blog posts on critique groups will appear on The Blood-Red Pencil blog today and tomorrow, I thought I'd talk about the group I've belonged to since early 2004.

Toward the end of 2003, local author Brian Kaufman taught a novel-writing class for all ages at our Senior Center. At the end of the class, several of us formed a critique group in an effort to stay motivated and to improve our writing skills. We named our group Raintree Writers, because the center where we first met was located on Raintree Drive.

Although we've had a couple of members come and go since the beginning, we're now a solid group of six mixed-genre writers, most writing novels. Our newest member is Brian Kaufman, who taught the original class. Author of The Breach and The Apocalypse Parable, Brian is currently writing textbooks, which we don't have to read, as well as a horror novel that he's submitting to our group for critique.

April Joitel finished her first novel, Bobbing for Watermelons, and was a finalist in the women's fiction category at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference. She is now working on a full-length creative nonfiction book. Melissa Pattison's genre of choice is horror. Beth Marquart is writing historical fiction set during World War II. Carolyn Yalin is working on a mainstream novel set in Canada. A former member, Sidna Rachid, previously completed The Concrete Affair, which won the Pike's Peak Writer's Conference competition in 2007 in the mystery category. And there's me, author of the Sylvia and Willie mystery series.

The group currently meets every other week. We generally follow the submission and critiquing procedures I outline in The Blood-Red Pencil posts. I'm glad I didn't have to go through the writing and revising process alone. I hope all of you who are writers belong to, or soon find, a supportive and serious group like Raintree Writers.


Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It sounds like you found a really helpful group of very talented writers, Patricia. I'll look forward to reading your post on Blood Red.

Mystery Writing is Murder

Karen Walker said...

Lucky you, Patricia. I have not had great success connecting with a writing critique group. I just hired an editor.
Karen Walker

Marvin D Wilson said...

Oh cool - I didn't know you were posting on BRP today - I'll go and read it. :)

the Old silly

Anonymous said...

Great idea. I need to get involved with a group like this. Its easy to start to think one's writing is awesomely terrific when another set of eyes is necessary to identify areas that need some serious thought and changes.

- Steve Tremp

Anonymous said...

As a member of Raintree Writers, I thought you should all know the value that Pat brings to our group. We are lucky to have her as a member!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks, Carolyn! And by the way, everyone, Carolyn is getting very close to finishing her novel. She's starting a blog to talk about her experiences with the writing life. I'll be passing that link on as soon as she's ready.

Karen, the experience of hiring and working with a freelance editor will make a great blog post. I'll look forward to hearing more about that.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

I've never been in a critique group. I think when I first became aware of them, there was some negativity associated with the idea. That is, the people talking about them were negative when discussing their experience. That view got implanted in my brain. So, it's something I'll have to overcome. Your post here and at Blood Red, have helped. Maybe I should seek one out--at least on a trial basis.

Best regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Joining a critique group was one of the best moves I ever made. I learn so much at each meeting. At first I was a bit nervous, but found everyone very supportive and there to help, not destroy. Now I want to read your post at Blood-Red Pencil.


K. A. Laity said...

A good critique group is a thing of joy. They can be difficult to find, but well worth hunting out. Now off to the Blood-Red Pencil!

GutsyWriter said...

I just found your blog and wanted to say I joined a critique group of professional writers which I'm finding extremely helpful. Thanks for visitng my blog. I enjoyed your post.

Anonymous said...

I love my critique group and couldn't write without them.