Southern Christian Writers


Small Groups

Please listen to the audio file of The Art of the Critique before joining a small group.

Writing can be lonely. Talking about your passion with family and friends can be difficult if they are not writers. The purpose of Small Groups is to encourage writers, share writing experiences, help writers find their niche and offer critiques to assist writers in mastering the craft of writing.  

If you wish to be in a small group please listen to the audio file of The Art of the Critique and join us at one of our bi-monthly meetings. Small Group meeting dates for 2018 are April 21, June 16, August 18 and October 20. Everyone is welcome to participate.

Small group leaders are Teena Myers and Ingrid Adams.



Use Times New Roman, 12 pt font, double space. You may submit ONE chapter, article, essay, or poem. The critiquer is only obligated to evaluate the first three pages.


1. Follow the formatting guidelines. If submitting a hard copy use 1-inch border, 12 pt Font Times New Roman and double space. You may submit up to one chapter, article or poem. The writers evaluating your work are only obligated to critique the first three (3) pages. Please speak to your group leaders for email addresses of writers willing to receive digital copies.

2. Be Specific. Tell the critiquer what kind of critique you desire. There are three types of edits that manuscript goes through before it is published.

Contextual Edit: Looks at the big picture. Do you have a beginning, middle and satisfying ending? Is the pace too slow, too fast? Do the author leave out important information, include irrelevant information.

Grammar or Copy Edit: Narrows the focus to the structure of your sentences, punctuation, proper word usage (here/hear), checks the accuracy of references etc.

Proof Reading: Catches everything missed in the previous edits.

3. Respect the critiquer. That person took time to read your work and form suggestions that might help you communicate your ideas and refine what you wrote. They do not deserve to be interrupted or corrected. Whether you agree with the things they say or not, you asked for their opinion. They might not be right. But they took time to do something for free that you could be paying a lot of money for. A profession edit on 50,000 words or 200-page book, can run as high as $5,000.

4. Be slow to change what you wrote. If you rewrite something based on one opinion, I guarantee you will find someone with a different opinion and you will be constantly rewriting. Listen quietly to each person, if two or more say the same thing consider their suggestions and decide if you need to change something.


1. Begin with a summary of what you received from the work. State what you thought the story was about and what the author was trying to accomplish with it. This lets the author know how well he or she was able to communicate the story’s key themes to you.

2. Address your critique to the manuscript, not to the writer. Comments within the critique should be in the nature of either “This section needs” or “I didn’t understand this sentence,” or “this paragraph confused me.” Do not tell the writer “You need to.” They decide what needs to be changed based on the groups’ collective feedback.

3. Start with the Positive. Point out the author’s strengths, with specific examples, such as “I liked the details about your characters, you made them come alive.” If its non-fiction, point to something you learned, or something that changed your way of thinking.  Staring with positive feedback sets a helpful tone to a critique and makes it easier to accept the negative.

4. Do not overload the author with negative feedbackIf there is a lot that needs work start with one thing and don’t move on until the author has mastered that one thing. If you point to something that needs work tell the author why and offer a solution. If someone has a problem using quotes in dialogue recommend a book on punctuation that helped you or give the address to a website or blog that deals with that topic.

5. Do not judge a person’s theology. We have people from various denominations with various beliefs. We may not agree with a person’s theology but that does not justify treating them with a lack of respect. This is not a Bible Study.  Therefore, we do not correct each other’s theology. If its theology you find disagreeable, you are not obligated to read it and offer a critique. You do not have to explain to anyone why.



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