Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Value of a Critique Group

Marilyn Meredith (aka F.M. Meredith) has another new Rocky Bluff mystery! This is number thirteen in this series. She also writes a second series with many books. I asked her how she keeps her characters interesting in such a long series.


The hostess of this blog and I go way, way back. Gloria was in two different writing groups that I taught. The second one operated like a critique group. As the instructor, I got to make my suggestions first, but everyone else could do so also.
When I first started writing with the hopes of being published, I couldn’t find a critique group so my sister took my chapters to one in her area. They seldom praised anything, though perhaps she only told me the criticism, and I learned lots.

The critique group I belong to now, I joined way back in 1981. The members have changed over the years, in fact except for the founder, I’m the most consistent attendee. I’ve learned more from this critique group than from any other source including conferences, writing classes and books on writing.

Early on, I learned that the praise was nice but the criticism and suggestions were the helpful part. If I attended and read my pages and didn’t hear what to the other members seemed confusing, or didn’t make sense, or the grammar was flawed, I wouldn’t waste my time.

That doesn’t mean I always agreed with every bit of criticism, but if something was pointed out, I took a long look at it to see how it could be fixed or written more clearly.

I’ve always considered my critique group my first editor. They don’t catch everything, but I’m thankful for what they do point out. Even the paid editor doesn’t find every error, and often not the publisher. In the end, it’s up to me to make sure the work is as error free as possible.

A good critique group can be a valuable asset to your writing journey.

F. M. aka Marilyn Meredith

#13 in the Rocky Bluff P.D. series, Unresolved Blurb:
Rocky Bluff P.D. is underpaid and understaffed and when two dead bodies turn up, the department is stretched to the limit. The mayor is the first body discovered, the second an older woman whose death is caused in a bizarre manner. Because no one liked the mayor, including his estranged wife and the members of the city council, the suspects are many, but each one has an alibi.

Copies may be purchased from Book and Table by emailing with a 10% discount and free shipping as well as all the usual places.

Bio: F. M. Meredith lived for many years in a small beach community much like Rocky Bluff. She has many relatives and friends who are in law enforcement and share their experiences and expertise with her. She taught writing for Writers Digest Schools for 10 years, and was an instructor at the prestigious Maui Writers Retreat, and has taught at many writers’ conferences. Marilyn is a member of three chapters of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and serves on the board of the Public Safety Writers of America. She lives in the foothills of the Sierra. Visit her at and her blog at

Tomorrow, I’m visiting where you can read a short excerpt.