Don’t Be Cruel

Getting back to my Bobby and Whitney theme (Bobby & Whitney), here is a post about critique groups.

Oh boy, I could go on and on and on and on and on… about critique groups. But in summary – if you want to publish a story – you need one.

13267716_784892528314893_5084061351530771844_nThis is a very small critique group I participated in a few years ago.

(Bonus tip: you do not need to make strange faces and do awkward things with your hands during a critique group, but if you do – someone will take a picture.)

Last year, I was given the opportunity to run a picture book critique group during the WPA SCBWI Fall Conference. Knowing that it was going to include people who have been sharing stories for years and years, and probably also people who have never read their story to a stranger before, I decided to create a list of ground rules to get everyone on the same page. After all, opening yourself up to feedback can be scary (I myself may or may not have dry heaved in the car prior to my first meeting), and I wanted to create a safe space.

Picture Book Critique Group

printable version

Goal: Help everyone make their stories even better

Structure: Everyone gets equal time to read and receive feedback

  • Read
  • Compliments
  • Suggestions


  • Don’t defend.
  • Take it or leave it, but think about it.
  • Don’t take it personally. It’s about this particular version of this particular manuscript.

Critiquers: Keep comments constructive

Me: I’ll keep us focused and on time



And I leave that to you- if you have any questions about critique groups, please feel free to ask in the comments.





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