SCBWI

Society of
Children's Book Writers
and Illustrators

Critique Groups

List-Service Discussion Board

As a NOSCBWI member, you may take advantage of this Yahoo Group Message Board which connects you with other writers/illustrators all over Ohio — from Cleveland to Cincinnati and Youngstown to Toledo!

 – Get up-to-date info on regional meetings and speakers events

 – Learn about workshops, classes and conferences

 – Find or start a critique group

 – Get updates on industry news

 – Share triumphs and goals with other writers and illustrators 

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To get started or if you are having difficulty with login, contact the Ohio List-serve Moderator.


Online Critique Groups

Picture Book Writers Critique group
The group is currently at capacity and unable to accept new members. Its members are from all over Ohio. Moderated by Susan Collett.


In-Person Writing Critique Groups

Columbus
Meetings consist of sharing good news, a speaker or discussion on a writing topic and optional critique of members’ work. Guests are welcome but continuing attendance requires SCBWI membership.
Meetings: Third Wednesday of each month • 7:00 to 9:00 p.m • Upper Arlington Library, Tremont Road
Contact: Andrea Hall • coscbwi@yahoo.com

Cincinnati
Meetings are held in various locations and new members are welcome.
Meetings: Third Tuesday of each month • Contact email address below for more information.
Contact: Nancy Parish • HBloss@aol.com • 513-469-0861

Dayton
A Dayton Area Critique Group was recently formed.
Meetings: Contact email address below for more information.
Contact:
Liz Ball • aerball@aol.com

Solon
The Northeast Ohio Children’s Writers, a group of mixed genre children’s writers and illustrators
Meetings: Second Monday of each month • 6:30 p.m. • Solon Library
Contact: Jillian Mesnick •
jmesnick@sbcglobal.net

Toledo
The group is currently accepting new, Toledo area, members.
Meetings: Quarterly, operating as an online group the remainder of the year.
Contact: Marian Miller •
marianmiller1@me.com

South Euclid / Lyndhurst
The #HeightsKidLit critique group meets on the first Wednesday of the month in the South Euclid/Lyndhurst Library (in the Writing Center). Please contact the critique moderator in advance, as space is limited. Contact: heightscritiquegroup@gmail.com

North Royalton
The North Royalton critique group meets on the last Saturday of the month at the North Royalton Library. Please contact the critique moderator, Kim Grieco, for additional details if you are interested in participating. Contact: griecok3@gmail.com

Westlake
Westside Kids Writers is open to everyone the first Thursday of every month at 7 pm. We meet on the second floor of the Westlake Barnes and Noble. If you can’t find us, look for our sign or email Michelle Kollar at kollarmichelle@yahoo.com. Sharing is a requirement of our group. Please bring something you’ve written or recently learned about the writing process.


Guidelines for Successful Critique Groups

Select a time and meeting place

 – It will be impossible to please everyone, but a poll will reveal the day/time and location that is most convenient for the largest number of participants. 

 – A meeting place that is public and offers refreshments is most comfortable. The public library is ideal. Many bookstores and coffee shops welcome small groups with advanced notice.  Meeting in private homes can be stressful on the host, and causes problems for guests with allergies.

Form a group

 – Set a maximum number of members for the group. Four to eight members is ideal. Groups over 10 may become unmanageable.

 – Set a focus for members that are interested in a specific genre, for example: Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, or Non-fiction

 – Keep an up-to-date list of attendees with phone numbers and emails. Make this available to all group members.

 – Send emails and set up a telephone chain if meeting must be changed or canceled due to weather, holidays, etc.

 – Draw on all members to help out so all the planning doesn’t fall on one person.

Wear nametags

 – Nametags relieve the pressure of remembering names for those familiar faces

 – Require posting of full names online. Anonymity breeds malicious comments without repercussions.

Set rules & time limits

 – Select a Moderator. This is usually the group coordinator, if they are present. The moderator must be prepared to firmly stop conversations that are not in the spirit of constructive criticism or go over the set time limit.

 – Begin promptly at the determined time. Allow for brief introductions with socialization time at the end.

 – Use a timer. When the bell rings the discussion must move on to allow everyone a chance to have their work discussed. A time limit of 5-10 minutes is usually sufficient for discussion. If a topic is going over time,the moderator can request that it can be carried on between individuals after the meeting.

Keep on Topic

 – Critiques should be limited to Children’s Books writing. Do not spend excessive time on questions that can be found on other sites or better answered on other message boards, such as about agents, contracts, or queries.

 – Authors should indicate any special concerns or problems they would like addressed in critique. For example, questions about pacing, word selection or character development.

 – Unless it is an illustration group, writers should refrain from discussing artwork. In Children’s Book publishing,  unless someone is both author and illustrator, writers seldom have any say in the illustrations that will appear with their words.

Giving a Critique

 – Be honest, but polite. Your opinion should focus on the work, never on the author or artist.

 – Give one or two concise comments as to not overwhelm the person being reviewed.

 – Be specific and constructive. If you don’t like something, explain why you don’t think it is working and offer a solution.

Receiving a critique

 – Ask and be prepared for an honest response and don’t be defensive!

 – You may not agree with every opinion given. Accept them graciously or disregard them without retort and move on.

 – Take notes so you can remember what was said when you are ready to make revisions.

 – Thank the reviewers, even if you don’t agree with them.

Recommendations for successful online groups

 – Do not endlessly quote previous threads. Delete all but relevant portions of the previous message.

 – Do not permit anonymous responses. Give full names.

 – Moderators may reserve the right to delete offensive or off topic comments.

 – Screen for spammers. Set up your message board so people must request an invitation to join. On Google Groups you can choose to write a custom question that will appear on your group’s sign-up page. 


Online Critiquing Resources

The following resources are not affiliated with the SCBWI. Inclusion here does not imply endorsement, and all members are encouraged to seek the advice of legal counsel as needed.

Writing Groups 101
www.inkedvoices.com

The Give and Take of Critique
by Linda Sue Park

Nuts And Bolts of Critiquing
by Tina Morgan

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, or How to Choose a Writers’ Group
by Holly Lisle