1. How often do the critique groups meet?
With the exception of the Starting Block group, critique groups meet once a month. We also offer a write-in once a month. The Starting Block group meets once a week for six weeks.
2. Can I just drop in and have my writing critiqued?
You can drop in and audit a group, but in order to have your work critiqued, you must contact us about joining.
3. How do writers exchange pages for the critique groups?
A Dropbox is set up for each group every month. Members must put their submissions in the designated Dropbox at least one week prior to the critique group. If you’re late with your submission there is no guarantee that everyone will critique it.
4. How do I make comments on the pages I critique?
Most members use the “Track Changes” feature in Word. You can also type your comments in the text – just make sure you use a different font or color to differentiate it.
5. Do I have to attend every meeting?
The Des Moines Writers Workshop is so successful because of the dedication of the writers involved in it. Belonging to the critique groups does require an ongoing commitment. We understand that things come up and members have to miss a meeting from time to time. You’ll find that you get much more out of the groups if you attend them on a regular basis.
6. I had a bad experience in a critique group. What makes your group different?
The writers who formed the DMWW are deeply committed to members having a positive and productive experience. No abusive behavior will be tolerated. Suggestions and critiques should always be given in a constructive, nonjudgmental manner.
7. I’ve never been in a critique group and I’m nervous to let other people read my writing.
We’ve all been there, and it is scary. Putting your work out there for others to see takes a lot of courage. If you’re unsure if a critique group is right for you, you’re welcome to audit a meeting to see how our process works.
8. I’m worried that no one will like my writing.
Everyone can find something positive in a piece of writing. We start every critique with the things we like about the submission before moving on to suggestions and critiques. Writers need to know what they’re doing well so they can continue to do those things.
9. Do you offer anything besides critique groups?
We offer a write-in every month. Attendance for the write-ins is optional. Our members are diverse and have a lot to offer each other. We have members who are very familiar with the indie publishing world, and members who are taking the traditional publishing route. We are currently discussing having some mini workshops and informational meetings about: traditional publishing, independent publishing, and the dos and don’ts of writing. We also offer a fall writing retreat every year. By 2020, we hope to host a national writing conference.