Singing the Praises of My Critique Group

I've belonged to the same critique group since 1982. Oh, the members have changed over the years, but the value continues on.

Even though I'd been writing long before I joined this group, and had even been published, I truly learned how to write from the critiques and suggestions I received. And now, my writing is refined by my fellow critique members.

At this time, the active members consist of the following people:

Shirley Hickman, who started the group many, many years ago. She opens her home to us every Wednesday evening where we read our chapters, hear what the others have to say, and enjoy one another's company. She mulit-published poetry, articles, contemporary fiction, romance, and three wonderful memoirs about her growing up years. She was an honors English teacher too, so we can be sure any grammar mistakes will be pointed out. (She's a great editor.)

Brent Gill writes great articles about living on a ranch, sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching, but always enjoyable. He's helped me a lot with both fire and law enforcement scenes, as well as the male point of view.

Jann McGuire is a marvelous poet. Her published book is about her own battle with cancer--but much, much more. She is also writing a memoir. She has a gift for being able to rearrange a sentence in the best possible way.

Ela Pandya is a fairly new member of our group, also writing a memoir. She has become an excellent critiquer and I value her suggestions. 

Dr. Rao has had many of his short stories published. He writes wonderful stories about growing up in India, as well as some contemporary tales. He is good at catching mistakes. Plus, he's given me some unusual ways to kill someone that I've used in my mysteries.

I thoroughly enjoy these people and I'm honored to call them my friends.

Here we are at our annual Christmas dinner. We are missing Jann, and except for one, our spouses joined us.

Left front and going back: 

Brent Gill, Dr. Pandya with his wife Ela, Joe Hickman

Right side of table from back to front:

Hap Meredith (my hubby), me, Shirley Hickman, Sharon Gill, and Dr. Rao.


WE are also grateful to our critique group, Lagunita Writers Group. ( We always have someone other than the author read our chapters. Hearing them read sometimes points up issues we would not hear or see if we read them. Most of our members are multi-published authors. Three cheers for critique groups!
Jackie Houchin said…
Yes, a group like this (and mine) are truly wonderful. We are only eight ladies now - and a few have changed over the years like yours, and two (soon three) live a distance away. But when we get together or correspond, it is encouraging and uplifting and inspiring.
We can let our hair down and our shirttails hang out... and even stay in our pj's and we are accepted.
Here's to us and to all critique groups.
Thonie Hevron said…
I meant to comment on this post earlier. But here goes: my writing has improved exponentially by going to a critique group regularly. Not only do VERY good writers offer critiques on my work, but writing pages keeps me moving forward. It's also become a huge resource ("I went to a workshop yesterday," or "I read an article you might be interested in,") and rooting section. Without being saccharine, these people support me--they attend all my author events (locally, anyway) and always encourage me in my momentum. This group is the single-most important thing I've done to move my writing forward.

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