Where I live presents a bit of a problem. If I want to join a writing group, my options consist of driving an hour down to one on Cape Cod or navigate the ever-changing streets and parking rules of Boston. There is a Romance Writer’s of America chapter north of Boston, but that’s an even longer drive that can get pretty tricky depending on the time of day. Any of those choices mean more time in the car driving than actually sitting with the writing group.
The idea of an online writing group produces mixed feelings for me. I’m completely on board with the fact that I can critique stories and have mine critiqued from the comfort of my desk. But I hesitate because I don’t know who’s in the critique group or how serious they are about giving critical critiques. Though, that’s a problem that can happen when I’m physically in the same room as the rest of the writing group too.
I signed up for a website called “Critique Circle” last week. The way the site works is that you need to have three credits in order to submit a story for critique and you earn credits by critiquing other stories. It’s a fair way to ensure everyone contributes if they want to get opinions on their stories.
I’ve critiqued a few stories so far, and I’m having flashbacks to years ago when I used to post stories on Fictionpress.com and Fanfiction.net. I can tell when writers finish typing a first draft and then immediately post it for critiques. There also seem to be writers who’ve gone through several drafts before posting on the site. To each his own, I guess.
At the moment, I don’t have any stories ready to post for critique. And I’m going to withhold judgement until I have one posted and have gone through the process. I am hopeful. I think that this website could be a great tool to help me prepare my manuscripts to be sent out to agents and editors. I’ll post an update in a few weeks after I’ve gone through the whole process of posting a story.
Do you belong to a writing group? What’s your opinion of online writing groups?