Guidelines for a Positive Critique Group Experience

For the reader/critiquer

Please be nice. Share something you like about the piece immediately! You’re not limited to one positive statement. Feel free to mention several elements you enjoy about the piece.

If some part of the author’s piece doesn’t work for you, be clear about the fact that you’re sharing your opinion. Maybe it’s not a genre you usually read. Maybe you find something hard to believe or you don’t quite understand what’s going on. But again, please be nice!

Critiquers take timed turns (usually 3 minutes) to offer feedback. No interruptions from other members of the group.

As you offer feedback, try to avoid asking the author a question, since it will take away from your feedback time. In addition, the author may try to explain verbally what they meant, rather than figuring out how to make the story (what’s on the page) have the effect they want it to have.

Critiquers who agree with previous comments can simply say “ditto” and move on to their unique impressions of the piece. If you disagree with a previous reviewer, it’s usually helpful to say so, since the author needs to process multiple points of view before deciding how or whether to revise a piece.

For the author

The author should listen and take notes but should wait until after everyone offering feedback finishes before speaking.

After all critiques, the author may ask questions or seek clarification, but they are under no obligation to do so. Sometimes just saying “thanks for the feedback” is fine.

Any followup discussion should be brief enough to allow us to move to the next author.

Whatever reviewers say about an author’s piece, it remains their work. The writer gets the final decision on how (or whether) they revise the story.