Category Archives: Critiquing

Writers’ Mill Minutes 201704

Writers’ Mill Minutes April 23rd 2017

Guest speaker Zita Podany was unable to attend due to illness, but has been rescheduled for August 20th – mark your calendars. With the off-schedule timing for the meeting (due to Easter) causing a lower attendance this month, let’s hope for more people to be here when Zita joins us in August. Meanwhile around twelve of us enjoyed a BYOS meeting (Bring your own snacks, and bring your own speaker), with an impromptu writing exercise taken from the Creative Writer’s Notebook ($8.98 from Barnes and Noble) inspired by our next contest. We also enjoyed receiving contest awards filled with wonder for the Wonder contest, pondering contest entries for the next few months, and critiquing the third enticing chapter of Matthew’s novel. Continue reading Writers’ Mill Minutes 201704

Writers’ Mill Minutes 201611

Writers’ Mill Minutes November 20th

18 members attended November’s meeting, where Ron and Sheila gave a joint talk on the art of giving and taking in critique (see below), copies of the journal were handed out (email Sheila if you’ve not received yours), orders were taken for Zeus and Bo and Fred and Joe and Co (email Sheila if you still want to order it), and Jean led a fascinating discussion (also below) as we critiqued Patty’s prolog. Plus we had one new member, another Ron! Welcome! Continue reading Writers’ Mill Minutes 201611

Writers’ Mill Minutes 201608

Writers’ Mill Minutes August 21st

You may remember Jim Stewart, poet, short story writer, novelist, musician and more from our May meeting. He returned for a much-anticipated second visit in August, where he  invited and answered questions on editing poetry and how to make words count. Around 16 members of the Writers’ Mill braved the heat to attend. Notes on the questions and answers will follow these minutes. Continue reading Writers’ Mill Minutes 201608

Critique Questions

Have you been asked to lead a critique? Are you wondering what questions to ask, or how to keep the conversation going around the room? The following questions are given in sets of threes – the idea is you can ask the original question, then guide discussion toward the others if people aren’t answering. Thank you to all of you who used the questions so well in sharing the critique this month.

  1. What is the story about?
    1. Storyline
    2. Theme
    3. Genre


  1. What grabs you first?
    1. Strong beginning?
    2. Interesting question?
    3. Interesting character?


  1. What makes the location real?
    1. Description?
    2. Writing style?
    3. Atmosphere?


  1. What makes the character(s) real?
    1. Description?
    2. Internal dialog?
    3. Interactions?


  1. What makes the dialog real?
    1. Different voices?
    2. Dialog tags?
    3. Choice of words/phrases?


  1. What makes the dilemma real?
    1. Internal confusion?
    2. External threat?
    3. Unsolved mystery?


  1. What narrative voice?
    1. 1st/2nd/3rd person?
    2. Personal/distant/omniscient?
    3. Does it fit story/genre/theme


  1. Favorite scenes?
    1. What makes it a favorite?
    2. Is it important to the story?
    3. What more would you want?


  1. How does it end?
    1. Has character changed?
    2. Has situation changed?
    3. Has reader changed?


  1. Did the author have questions, or do you have other questions to ask?


We usually ask the author not to speak until the end of the critique, when they get to ask other questions arising from what’s been discussed, or to answer questions raised by readers.

We hope you’ll enjoy leading a critique for us sometime, and that the questions might help you in critiquing your own work.

Minutes 201605

Writers Mill Minutes May 15th 2016

21 members attended May’s meeting and listened to an excellent discussion on all things writing, led by poet, short story writer and novelist Jim Stewart. Jim has generously agreed to a return engagement to lead a poetry workshop for us soon. We really appreciated meeting with him, and notes from his talk will be included in a separate post.  Continue reading Minutes 201605

Self-pub, e-pub and more

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Self-Publishing & e-Publishing


Do you want to join a small critique group?

We have small critique groups meeting at Java Lounge and at Village Baptist. Others could meet in other locations.

Best size for a critique group? 4 members works well. Start your group with 3. Grow to 5 as new people join. Split when you reach 6.

Best makeup of a critique group? Find 2 other people who have some interest (besides writing) in common with you. They don’t have to write the same things you do, but it helps if they like reading the sort of thing you write.

Best format for a critique group? Try to be disciplined. Some groups meet once a week and critique every member every week. Some meet once every two weeks and schedule one member for critique at each meeting. Some spend half their time critiquing and half their time writing. Do what works for you.

How long should a critique meeting be? Decide how long the piece you will critique can be. Schedule an hour, or half an hour, or whatever works. Once you’ve completed the critique, members are free to leave or stay for more coffee and conversation.

Do you want to join a group? Leave a comment below. Say when you can (or can’t) meet. Suggest what genres might work well for you. Come back and see who else has left a comment. Good luck.