There is nothing more frightful than handing off what you’ve written to someone else for critique.
*insert cringing, nail-biting, hiding under a blanket*
As a writer, critique is absolutely what you need. Why? Well, there’s only so much you can do for your manuscript, only so many typos you’ll be able to catch, and only so many errors/plot holes you’ll be able to see.
Trust me, I know it’s tempting as soon as you type The End to send that book baby off to agents/publishers/format it for Amazon. But don’t. You need another set, or sets, of eyes on it.
*side note* Another set of eyes, not your mother (sorry Mom, and all moms out there, but you’re biased because you love us and will always believe what we do is amazing, therefore you’re not a good sounding board).
My fellow SFF Seven have shared insight on how they decide who to trust. Personally, I believe it all comes down to following your gut. But what if you don’t know where to start to find a critique partner? Or maybe the thought of handing your words over to someone you know, and have have to see IRL, terrifies you. If that’s you, then I have some options for you:
Absolute Write Water Cooler. This is a very active community for all types of writing. You’ll find a lot of articles about publishing and their online writer community forum is loaded with discussion a variety of discussion topics and writing prompts.
NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month takes place in November, but their community is active year round. #NaNoWriMo makes it easy to find people who are participating, and NaNo’s website allows you to search for people and ‘buddy’ up. I know many authors that’ve found writing buddies to cheer for them and critique for them this way.
Discord is a way to interact with a large group and chat with like-minded individuals. Yes, there’s a ton of groups for gaming, minecraft, manga, etc. on Discord, but they also have BetaMe for writers who want to give and receive feedback on their work!
writing.com. This online community is a great place to post your writing for member feedback. Once your words are up all members can read and leave comments, so if that’s too broad for you…
Inked Voices may be a good option. This space is set up for writing groups, usually 5-15 members. They do have lectures and can connect you with professional editors if that’s intriguing to you.
Since this is the SFF Seven blog, you may be interested in: SFFChronicles.com. This sci-fi fantasy community has a lot of forums, feel free to join and geek out, and they have a robust writing forum with a Critiques section. Note, you must have done 30 posts before you can post your own for critique.
Reddit is huge, but did you know how many subreddits there are? I don’t, sorry if you were getting excited over getting an actual number. But they have some very popular writing subreddits if you’re looking for a particular niche!
And last, not that this list is even the least for writing communities by far, but I’ve got to wrap this up before I lose your attention, are the social medias.
Twitter has become home to one of the largest #writingcommunity groups. Search by the hashtags, a few are #amwriting, #writerslife, #writersnetwork and #5amwritersclub. Twitter can turn into a negative cess pool at times, so if that gets to you…
Instagram uses the same hashtags and has a more positive vibe to it. Facebook, is Facebook, and can also be searched.
It’s petrifying to share your work. But you can do it! Prepare yourself for feedback, buy some wine or bourbon, and settle in. The more you do/participate, the quicker you’re gut will learn to spot the hatters and those who aren’t a good critique-partner fit. Plus, your writing will get stronger and you’ll likely end up making some great friends!
Have you tried any of these communities? Do you have a writing community that I didn't mention?