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Critique Group Central

I'll be organizing this from my other email address,, though in order to be part of the group, I will also get a fake name and email address.

The first step:

Everyone who wants to be a part of the group has to register for an email account with hotmail (or rocketmail, but hotmail's easier) under a fake name. As in, when they ask for your name, you type in whatever name you made up for yourself, because that is the name that will show up in the inbox of whoever you email. For anonymity's sake, please choose a completely made up name--not an anagram of your first, middle, or last names, or anyone else's, for that matter (and please don't send any messages telling anyone who you are--the anonymity component is something I'd like to be strict about).

Once you have registered for your account, email me at , with the words "Critique Group" in the subject line, and telling me two things in the body of the message. First: whether you already have something lying around that you'd like critiqued and haven't shown to anyone on the forum. Second: whether you're going on vacation within the next two months, and when you leave. People going on vacation sooner will have priority, though I'll work it so that the order in which stories are critiqued won't give away people's identities.

The way it will work:

Each week, according to the schedule, someone's story (5000 words or less) will be placed on a page linked to this one for download and critique. I know that some of you might not want your work up on the web for all to see, which is why this page will not be linked to my main page, and the actual story will be placed in gray text on a page with a gray background (which means it will be virtually invisible to any random web surfer who comes by--though it would be pretty hard for a random web surfer to find it, anyway). This should be easier than working by email, because email is more likely to be unreliable than web pages are.

The schedule will be posted on this page. It will list your "name" and the date when your story is scheduled to go up for critique (I plan to put the stories up Fridays, during Chat). Please send me your story by 8:00 EST the Wednesday before you are scheduled to go, so that if something goes wrong and you can't send it to me, I have time to get someone else's work.

If you haven't joined the group yet, you still can, and I'll add you to the schedule and email you the address of the current week's story.

The Schedule:

Writer Date work is put up for critique
Luyana Kinsey June 13
Monique Greene June 20
Captain Espaguetis June 27
Frumious Bandersnatch July 4
Catch-Up Week July 11
Heliantha July 18
The Pineapple Yumm July 30
The Number Twelve August 8
Sun Shower August 15
Anzel Bach Roth August 22

Critique Guidelines/Help

So, you're probably wondering what the deal is with all this anonymity stuff. Simply enough, I want to make sure that people will be able to critique freely, without feeling that they have to give an overly-nice critique because they are close friends with the writer. Overly-nice critiques of material that could use improvement don't help anyone. We're all looking for constructive criticism, and I've found (on our litmag) that it helps not to know who the writer is. At the same time, this method keeps people from taking criticism personally, since the people writing the critique don't know who the writer is. Since all criticism will be done anonymously, I don't want people using this as an excuse to be mean (no more Marcellas!). Constructive criticism is the key concept.

I apologize for all these rules and such, but I think if we adhere to them, it could be a great experience for all of us.