Being active in two critique groups is a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding.
I’ve long looked forward to the days when I’m writing full-time and I surround myself with other like-minded authors. The hope was that we would meet every week, preferably somewhere local to where I live, and we’d critique each other’s stuff, talk business, and in general keep each other progressing and improving our craft.
I don’t currently write full-time, nor do any of the folks that I hang out with locally right now. (I do, however, have some names I could drop of full-time writers that I know and I see on a regular basis, but no, back on track Tom.)
Regardless of the full-time status, being in two groups keeps me hopping. I have to submit something to them every two weeks. Sometimes it’s the same work, and sometimes it’s different works. Sometimes it’s a revised draft of that’s already been through the other group before. It’s all in what I need at that time.
Since I’m in two critique groups, I’m always fascinated by the things that they catch. When I submit the same thing to both groups and I get beat up over something obvious in the first group, I have to gird myself for the same assault from the next group. And it’s painful, being beat up over something you already knew you made a big mistake over, but you can’t state you already know. They put time and effort into critiquing your stuff, so you let them say their piece.
On the other hand, it’s like a breath of fresh air when one group harps on you for one thing, and the other group doesn’t even notice that, choosing to bring up other aspects of your story. You don’t feel so beaten down by the same choices.
But it does bring up a conundrum. If one group hates a section, but the other doesn’t, who do you listen to? At least if they both tear you apart for the same mistake you know you made the mistake. Yeah, you might end up with a couple extra bruises from the process, but it is usually very clear that there is a problem.
So what do you think? Have you ever gotten feedback that contradicts feedback you got from someone else? How do you resolve it?