Elements of a Good Critique

Like a pilot preparing for takeoff, the person conducting a critique reads the submitted material and “runs a checklist.” Except for grammar, spelling and word choice, the critiquer should not make definitive recommendations to avoid polluting the original writer’s creativity. The rewrite is always up to the author. There are a number of different items in which a writer may request a critique, a few listed below: TITLE – descriptive, …

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Sharing Writer Resources with your Online Critique Group

Group vs. Public Sharing Critique groups generally consist of writers with like interests. Positive friendships and bonds form between members. We help each other learn through information sharing. There are three basic levels of privacy for a critique group: Personal info — family, finances, politics and religion. These are best kept at home and not discussed or recorded online. Group info — group projects, member full names, addresses, phone numbers, …

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The Online Session for Critique Groups

What Happens Prior to Session Several days prior to the online meeting All stories are loaded in a dated folder Critique assignments loaded to same folder Link to Hangout copied to assignment document Members have finished critiques Just before start time all members Open Chrome Browser Open Google Drive SHARED FOLDERS Find the folder for the day’s session Open the following so they are in tabs at the top of …

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Finding Critique Assignments and Completing Critiques Online

For an online critique group that submits critique pages ahead of time, members need adequate time to complete their critiques before the critique session. Our group assigns pages to other writers to critique by 2:00 PM on Sunday for a online video session Tuesday evening from 6:30 PM to 9:00 PM. Our group leader emails an assignment notification to those attending. She also posts a link to the Google Spreadsheet …

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Hardware Requirements for Online Critique Groups

Minimum equipment needed: Online critiquing is done over the Internet. Consequently, an Internet connection is required. The least expensive connection is a DSL (digital subscriber line) that is part of the wired telephone network (“land-line”). Video conferences with multiple people require a higher speed than commonly purchased. Try to obtain a minimum of 2Mb/s UPLOAD speed because slower speeds will cause jerky images and jumbled sounds. For best results connect …

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Set Up an Online Critique Group

Due to the 2020 Coronavirus pandemic, in-person critique groups are canceling their face-to-face meetings. Our online critique group is here to help yours go online. We hope our knowledge will encourage other groups to continue to meet. Once you go video, you might not go back! Our Online Experience The Speculative Fiction Critique Group has been in existence for four years years, although most of us have been participating in …

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Suspension of Disbelief

Any fiction book relies on suspension of disbelief by the reader. They forgo belief in some aspect of the real world to believe in the story-world. Science fiction and fantasy stretch belief to the limits requiring genre authors to exert great care to avoid “breaking the spell”. At some point in a story this happens: The doorbell rings, and John opens the door. Standing on the porch is a three-foot-tall, …

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Point Of View

Trends In a list of the twenty most popular science fictions books of 2019, 60% were written in third-person point-of-view (POV), 40% in 1st person and none in second person. Although the story in each novel is very inventive, the authors adhere to the rules of point-of-view, much like punctuation and grammar. First-person POV is recognized by use of the pronoun “I” or “we” whereas third-person uses “he” or “she”. …

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Deep Third Person Point-Of-View

What if you want to write a story with a personal, emotional and introspective point of view? You would have two basic choices: First person: The heat of the dragon’s breath warmed my face, increasing the pounding in my chest. Deep 3rd person: The heat of the dragon’s breath warmed his face, increasing the pounding in his chest. Before the 1980’s (prior to deep POV acceptance) the second option would …

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Word Processor for Novels

The best word processor is the one that connects your brain directly to the page. Alas, that’s not something speculative fiction writers can purchase, yet. If you are writing a novel, use a tool appropriate to the job. Any word processor works well for the first scene, but what about: backing up automatically editing, spell checking and grammar checking shuffling scenes moving chapters making a table of contents using sections …

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