Start those revisions with Critique Circle

editI’ve already written about my wonderful, face-to-face writing group that I have here in Rome. I look forward to those meetings every two weeks and enjoy the company of a talented group of American writers in Rome.

But I tend to write a lot and need a way to keep myself on-track with revisions. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to be pretty quick with  a creative burst of energy during the writing phase (my favorite part), and then I can allow a project to languish for ages during the heavy revisions phase (hate it!)

This is where Critique Circle comes in. I discovered this virtual writing group a little over a year ago and I’ve been active on the site ever since. I’ve met lots of great writers and critique partners, learned an amazing amount, and gained so much as a writer by critiquing others’ work.

Still, when I first joined I was a bit wary. I’d already tried one online critique site, YouWriteOn, and I quickly learned that it wasn’t for me. Although I received a handful of useful critiques, the vast majority were written by critiquers who gave me the definite impression that they’d only read the first couple of paragraphs. I was also surprised by the number of people who wasted critique space telling me they don’t read my genre … so why don’t I switch to fantasy or science fiction or something they liked more? In theory, the system of randomly assigning pieces to critique partners is interesting, but in practice, there is no real interest in the story of someone you’ll probably never read again.

Critique CircleCritique Circle, on the other hand, has queues of stories week after week, so you can create lasting critique relationships and follow a story from week to week, and comment on plot and character development throughout the story arc. It also works on a  point system, but the critique chooses the stories he or she wants to critique, and I believe it fosters a more collaborative approach to workshopping.

I’ve met so many talented writers on Critique Circle and each one brings different skills and observations to the critiquing process. I value this input tremendously, and don’t know how I’d face revisions without the help of my wonderful critique partners.

ComputerIt’s also rewarding to hear from critique partners how much my ideas and suggestions have helped them to develop their work, the sure sign that writers are helping one another to reach their goals.

There are a lot of online critique groups out there, so don’t get frustrated if you’re not pleased with one site’s approach. Keep looking and you’ll most likely find one that’s right for you.

For me, Critique Circle will remain my trusted place for tackling those  awful revisions. Thanks to all my great CC partners for their much appreciated help! They’ve worked wonders in improving my work, and I know I could never face dreaded revisions without them…


  1. Catherine on February 8, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I also tried YouWriteOn a long while ago and it was useful in that the positive comments helped with affirmation. It was also good to go public. But I left off and went on with my own rewriting. I also tried Authonomy for a while with my stories and received great feedback. To tell you the truth I should be revising a big old text – a huge book – and what am I doing? Writing new short stories..

    See you in spring! Ski season still going strong but there is spring in the air! Xcat

    • kimberlysullivan on February 9, 2013 at 3:14 pm

      Ha! Sounds a lot like me, Catherine. When I get bored revising a novel, a new short story idea always pops i to my head and I allow myself to be dragged away. But having to have new chapters for my crit partners to revise generally keeps me (mostly) on track. Enjoy the snow!!

  2. Jay Dee on February 8, 2013 at 9:57 am

    I’m also on Critique Circle, though I have yet to put anything up there. I will soon, though.

    • kimberlysullivan on February 9, 2013 at 3:15 pm

      Great, Jay. I’ll look for it. I hope you’ll enjoy posting. I really feels it helps to improve my writing and I’ve gotten a lot of help from critters. I’m sure you will, too.

      • Jay Dee on February 9, 2013 at 4:09 pm

        Thanks. I’m sure it’ll help me a lot. Of course, I need to critique others’ writing, too.

  3. Mindy on February 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Great post, Kimberly! As one of your critique partners on CC, I’ve learned so much from you and enjoy all of your stories. I’ve been with CC for 8 years and urge other writers to check it out. 🙂

    • kimberlysullivan on February 10, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Wow, Mindy. Eight years. I hadn’t realized that – great for you! I’m also pleased that one of the first stories I started critiquing was one of yours… and I’m so excited it will be released this May. The first of many for you, I’m sure!

  4. Kerry Ann on February 15, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation. I joined CC over a year ago, but I haven’t done a thing with it. I might dive in this weekend.

    • kimberlysullivan on February 16, 2013 at 6:02 pm

      Hi Kerry Ann! I know you were looking for good women’s fiction critique partners. I can only judge from my experience, but I’ve been very pleased with the level of critique partners I’ve found on CC. Hope you’ll start posting chapters – and of course I’d be happy to be a critique partner.

  5. Julia on February 19, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Before cc I joined two other online groups and they were really bad. cc turned out to be the best. I am taking a break from sending stories to cc for different reasons. But I agree with you that it is a good group overall. Thanks to cc I met you, Kimberly! So it has to be good! hahaha

  6. kimberlysullivan on February 25, 2013 at 7:48 am

    I agree, Julia. I’ve been so lucky to meet you and other fabulous cc partners and I appreciate the virtual friendship and support, as well as the critiques.

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