Critique Group Guidelines

As a Christian ministry, LCW is primarily oriented to training and critiquing writers interested in the booming Christian inspirational market. Meetings begin with prayer. All manuscripts for critique must subscribe to general CBA guidelines, avoiding foul language or explicit sexual material.

We ask that writers come to at least one meeting before submitting a piece for critique. This allows you to observe and understand the process of critiquing as well as decide whether our group is right for you before submitting your own material for critiquing. 

Manuscript Submission

Critiquing is done through a process of peer review. Submissions may be fiction or non-fiction, articles or chapters of a book. Bring submission printed out along with at least ten copies for peer review and feedback at the meeting, submitting no more than ten pages in a given month (1500 word count). The person sitting to your left will read the submission, or first three pages if longer, aloud while the group looks over the piece. Critiquing will begin with the person seated to the reader’s left and continue around circle, finishing with the reader. The manuscript submitter may not respond to peer critique, but may answer direct questions if clarification is needed. If there are more than ten people at the meeting or more than 2-3 submissions, it is suggested that the group break up into smaller critique circles, dividing the material submitted for critique.

Giving and Receiving Critique

We are here to help each other grow as writers and learn from others’ suggestions and our own mistakes. You may not always agree with your critiquer’s opinion. Listen graciously and without defensiveness. Develop a thick skin. Editors will concern themselves about your self-esteem far less than your fellow writers so consider your critique group a training ground.

At the same time, critique as you would be critiqued, with graciousness and kindness. We suggest the ‘sandwich’ method of peer review: find something positive to say (bottom slice); follow with your suggestions (filling); finish with another positive statement (top slice). The bottom line is that even the most experienced writer benefits from a fresh viewpoint, and successful authors are those who have learned to listen to suggestion.