Rules for Online Writing Critique Groups

I was browsing a forum where writers were trying to find critique group members. A few folks said they were thinking of forming their own group, because they couldn’t find an existing one, and they wanted guidance on how to set one up.

So it occurred to me that I could post our rules/guidelines from my online writing critique group here as a sample. I’m not saying these are the greatest set of rules and certainly timetables about how often people post and how soon they must respond, should be tailored to your group’s needs. But feel free to use these as a starting point.

1) New members must review at least two items before submitting their own work for review. This protects us from people looking for a free critique and also means that people get to see other people’s tones in critiques before receiving one. (Obviously this rule doesn’t apply to a brand-new group with ALL new members.)

2) If you have any overdue critiques in the last month that are still undone, you may not post an item to be critiqued.

3) Members may post at most two items for critique each calendar month. Only exception is a couple times a year if you have minor revisions that you’d like a quick take on, that’s okay and we won’t count it as one of your two monthly posts.

4) Two weeks to get the critique done. If you are on vacation or fall behind for any reason, just please try to catch up as soon as possible and know that you can’t post an item for critique until you catch up.

5) Maximum length for a critique item is 10 pages of double-spaced manuscript. So we regularly have people post a couple chapters of a YA or middle-grade story.

6) All critiques should stress what is working in the story as well as including suggestions for improvements. We recognize that critiques are always ONE opinion, one person’s view. There is not a right or wrong way to tell a story.

7) Members are expected to post one item per calendar month to be critiqued. The only exceptions are:
— New members may choose to not post their first month.
— If you have fallen behind, you have to catch up on critiquing others work before posting your own.

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