“I think the most effective forms of critique are ones that establish a common ground for people to occupy, and then appeal to the best nature of people on that common ground.” Mohsin Hamid
This week my critique group met to discuss a draft of a novel written by one of our members. We typically meet monthly and review three submissions. But with longer pieces, such as a novel, we set aside an entire meeting. Our process is simple. The person who is having their work reviewed submits that work a few weeks ahead of the meeting. Members read it, jot down comments and come to the gathering prepared to discuss it. Discussions are lively and refreshingly frank.
The writer walks away with seven detailed reviews of her work. In the end, she chooses how to go forward. She is the author. That is her prerogative.
As I said, there’s nothing complicated about what we do. And yet, magic happens.