I read a lot of different writing blogs, agents, editors, and authors. Each one has different information. Some I use, some I ignore. Tonight, while reading an agent blog, someone in the comments mentioned the need for a mentor.
Mentors are great! I have a "part time" mentor of sorts. She's a very good friend, a published author with a major house, several times over and very knowledgeable in the craft. And while she doesn't mind helping me out when I ask, I seriously hate asking because she is asked so often and has to turn down many of those requests. Therefore, I save my requests for help until I really, really, really need it.
I don't know about you, but I'd love to have a group of mentors. Mentors who know all the things I don't such as grammar and punctuation.
This is where critique groups come in. A good critique group is priceless. And, they come in all different shapes and sizes. Many are specific to genre and consist of more advanced writers. Many are general, with all craft levels involved.
You can become involved in online critique groups or groups that meet in person.
A couple things to think about in an online group...
Are the submissions protected from the public? Many forum boards have critique areas and while many times it's not a problem, some publishers consider anything posted online and available to the public as published and you've lost your first rights.
If possible, read some critiques to get the feel of those doing them. Are they helpful or more of the ego-stroking kind? Or, even worse, are the critquers just showing off how much they know?
Remember, critiques are just opinions though. So, be sure to take them with a grain of salt. Consider the critiquer's knowledge and publishing history.
So...got any recommendations for good critique groups?
What do you look for in a critique group?
What would you hate to find in a critique group?
And, how do y'all feel about mentors? Would you like to have one? Would you like to be one?
I look forward to your comments!