My Online Critique Group

It's been a year since I started my online critique group. Three authors and I have been getting together once a week to help each other improve our work. I have learned so much from these talented women. And it's all been online, which means we don't have to drive miles and miles to go to our critique group.

Janice Sperry, Renae Mackley, and me.
Melissa Cunningham is also in our group, but I still haven't met her in person.
We've kept our routine pretty simple, which has worked well for us. We meet most weeks on a weekday afternoon while our kids are still in school (except my youngest who watches a movie.)

How we operate:
  1. We submit our manuscripts by Friday night of the week before (though sometimes one of us has a crazy week and gets it in by Saturday night. Occasionally, one of us skips a submission week also.)
  2. Each of us can submit up to 10 pages (double spaced, 12 point font.)
  3. Before we meet, we each go through everyone's manuscript in Word, using the software to make comments and edits. (We turn on track changes, so the author can tell what edits we make.)
  4. When we meet, we take turns talking about each manuscript.
  5. After we meet, we e-mail each other the marked-up manuscripts. This makes it super easy to revise.
  6. Oh yes, and we try to be nice, but not too nice. (Sometimes it can get a little discouraging when the group wants you to make big changes . . . until you make the changes and you realize how right they were.)
How we talk online:
We have never used Skype for our meetings because it won't allow us to have a word document open while we see each other on the screen. At first, we used Oovoo, but it kept crashing on us. Last month, we started using Google Hangouts, and it has worked really well. The picture isn't as clear as it is on some other platforms, but it doesn't crash on us. For now, we're sticking with Google Hangouts.

I've probably left something out. Feel free to comment below with questions and suggestions.


  1. #6 -- So true! When more than one is telling me to change something that I don't want to...I should listen.
    It also helps that we have similar amounts of experience. I never feel like I'm the dumb one, even when the others catch so much.
    Thanks for being a wonderful critique partner!

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