Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 24, 2007

My Wonderful Critique Group

Ever since I started a blog this summer, I’ve been meaning to write about my manuscript group who cheer me on and pull me from he sloughs and swamps of writing and publishing. Our four-person group started meeting about eighteen years ago, which astonishes people who think of writers as loners who can’t play well with others – not that any of YOU would think that!

I have great memories of those early years, bringing my then-baby to snooze in her car seat while we discussed things like cutting five or fifty or sometimes more pages from a novel. Argued about adjectives. We took turns meeting at each others’ houses, so sometimes Lisa’s girls or Dina’s daughter and son would show up in their p.j.s, and when we met at Bruce’s we reveled in chairs that we didn’t have to remove plastic trucks or dinosaurs from. (back then my little girl also loved special visits to Bruce and Joe’s house. Everyone has to see her first coaster, and even breakable dinnerware, somewhere.)

As the kids got older and stayed up later we gave up our herbal tea and cookies and met in a coffee shop. When that shop began closing too early (and we linger) we moved on from decaf cappuccino to wine. Lisa Kleinholz has published some wonderful mysteries (Exiles on Main Street, Dancing with Mr. D) and her agent is now showing a novel set in the Florida Keys. (Lisa got to do some fun research!) Her web site, unlike mine I’m afraid, is pretty up-to-date, and has more about us (photos! writing samples!) and thoughtful tips for starting and sustaining critique groups.

Like me, D. Dina Friedman , started writing for adults then focused on teens and children. Last year she published the award-winning Escaping into the Night and Playing Dad’s Song. That was a good year! Bruce Carson is shopping his riveting historical novel, Bloody Kansas.

We’ve all gone through victories and disappointments. Getting together about every two weeks to celebrate or complain has made all the difference.



  1. It’s so important to have the support of other writers. Sounds like you’ve got a good group.

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