Master Critique Group
The Master Critique Group is a combination of an instructor-facilitated online critique group and a conventional Mastermind group.
The purpose of this hybrid critique group is to provide ongoing small-group support in the way of encouragement, accountability, and instructive feedback with writers' current projects.
Weekly instruction via Zoom, tailored to the needs of the small group, will challenge and aid writers to grow in their skills, aimed at helping them take their writing to a level of excellence and commercial viability. Emphasis on both the macro and micro elements of writing fiction will be addressed: from crafting a high-concept premise to developing unique character voice to becoming a masterful wordsmith.
Writers will learn how to identify genre markers and align a novel to fit alongside best sellers, and with this intimate small-group setting, writers will share their scenes and rework based on others' responses. They will also set goals and work with accountability partners to stay on track and reach their targeted milestones.
How Your Group Will Work:
- Group participants will meet weekly on Zoom, where you'll get instruction and build rapport with fellow writers. Scenes will be shared, dissected, and serve as teaching examples (on a volunteer basis), focusing on fiction-writing elements writers struggle with.
- A "fluid" syllabus will be provided, adjusted to the needs of the group and covering topics by request.
- Dozens of handouts, worksheets, and charts will be posted on the Resource pages for access while you are enrolled (but you are welcome to download and use forever!). Additional instructional videos will also be uploaded from time to time.
- All Zoom meetings will be recorded and posted in the course each week. These videos will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside the group. They will be accessible for two months after a writer chooses to leave the group (as well as all other resource material).
- Writers may request to rejoin the group (or join another group) after withdrawing enrollment for any length of time, but each new enrollment will require a new 3-month commitment. Rejoining will be done on an availability basis (and might require being put on a wait list). On occasion, new members will come into the group and new cohort assignments made. However, groups will never exceed 10 in number.
- Occasional extra Zoom meetings will be scheduled to address specific topics. These are optional and may involve multiple groups. All these extra sessions will be recorded and uploaded to the Resource page.
- Participants will not be required to share their work with the entire group, though it is encouraged. Sharing ideas and suggestions, brainstorming plot elements, helping with scene structure is all encouraged in a climate of creativity and nonjudgment. Writers should come willing to share and have their work critiqued. But they also will be expected to respect and honor each writer's right to craft their own story their way. Each week at least one student's work will be used in instruction with the group.
- Participants may be teamed up with one or two others in their group for cross-critiquing and accountability based on genre, stage of writing (outlining, first draft, revision stage, etc.), and personal goal objectives. These cohorts may shift over time for various reasons, or writers might choose to stay in their cohort month after month.
- Weekly forum discussions are possible via Disqus on each week's module. Any questions you want to ask your group about the weekly discussions or issues pertaining to your manuscript can be voiced in the discussion threads.
- Your enrollment includes an auto payment each month. If, after three months, at any time you decide to drop out, your subscription will be canceled at the end of the current month (or if your enrollment begins on the 11th of the month, for example, your current/last month would end on the 10th of the month). There is no partial refund for dropping out mid-month. If you need to change your payment method, you can go to your student settings and enter a new one.
While all participants in the group are expected to work diligently on their own books and aim to achieve the milestones they set for themselves, they are also expected to be a support for all the others in the group--whether that's done by helping with a scene or other writing-related challenge or sharing encouragement during a rough spell.
One of the primary reasons writers seek supportive critique groups is to help press through discouragement, feelings of failure or inadequacy, and other life pressures. However. this is not a therapy group, and its main purpose is not to give psychological counseling (however much we all might need it!). But everyone does need to be aware we all struggle with different challenges, and no one should be expected to divulge personal information if they choose not to. And some people don't want unsolicited advice on how to get through life. Just come with a caring, sharing attitude, with a willingness to learn and share what you've learned with others!
C. S. Lakin is the award-winning author of thirty books and blogger at Live Write Thrive, a top-ten site for writers. She works as a copyeditor and writing coach in the book publishing industry, specializing in manuscript critiques. Her writing craft book series, The Writer's Toolbox, teaches aspiring and experienced novelists how to write terrific stories. She loves nothing more than to help writers craft stellar novels and experience success and joy in their writing journey.
Frequently Asked Questions
I'm excited you are committed to taking your book to the next level and participating in this intimate, intense learning experience!