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Episode 23: Critique Groups, Critique Partners, and Beta Readers

(Aired August 3, 2014)

Critique Groups, Critique Partners, Beta Readers: the Good, the Bad, the Snooty In this episode we have special guest, history fiction author J.F. Ridgley. We also introduce a new member to The Write Pack: Meredith Tate Critique groups, partners and beta readers are a low stake experience that can be similar to that of an editor, agent, or publisher. So you have written a short story or a novel and are told you should find a critique group? Maybe a Critique Partner? And what is this odd thing called Beta Readers? Are they a pond filled of piranhas? Are they necessary steps to getting published? Why are they so important? Aren’t they always filled with just failed writers who are bitter and waiting to rip things up? Is there a difference between college writing critique groups and commercial writing critique groups? Do they replace editors? Are they like a movie’s favorite private screening feedback group? Should these people ever be a loved one, family member, or close friend? What defines a good beta reader, critique group or partner? What kind of feedback should you expect to receive? What makes good usable criticism? And what is the “sandwich effect”? How do you know if you are ready for a critique group, partner or beta reader? What makes a bad beta reader, critique group or partner? When you break up with a group or partner like breaking up with a lover? How do you find critique groups or critique partners writing in your genre? Beware of the critique giver who is trying to mold you into an image of their own method. Also beware of turning it into “social hour.”