What we're about

We are a group dedicated to writing, finishing, and publishing a novel, memoir, or short story. We critique each others' work and serve as a support group for helping writers plot, organize, and publish their writing. Historically, we've met at the San Rafael and the Silver Lake Libraries. In 2020, we moved online to Zoom. The format goes like this: There is a presentation and discussion on the day's subject. After, we begin the critiques.

The submission format is as follows:

(1) submit up to 10 pages, double-spaced

(2) use 1" margins all around;

(3) use 12-point Times New Roman or Courier font

(4) save files in MS Word format. PDFs okay. (5) number the pages

(6) be sure that the book's title and your name are the header.

(7) give your file name this format: FirstnameLastname-TitleOfBook-Genre-DateOfCritique.docx

If you are in the middle of the story, please write a single-spaced introductory paragraph or two outlining major plot points so far and the theme of the work. Include short bios for two or three major characters.

Submissions are due at 11:59 p.m. on the Sunday before we meet. Email them to docs@lawriterscritiquegroup.com, and put "Submission" in the subject line. You will receive instructions on how to download submissions for your reading and critique.

We divide the critique time by the number of submissions so that all writers get equal time.

We finish up around 12 or 12:30pm.

Our policies

We’ve developed a system of checks and balances to ensure that all writers benefit from our group. Two main approaches are discussed with newcomers to ensure that everyone gets the most for their efforts.

First Absorb, Then Ask and Discuss

At our in-person meetings, we are organized by group. Each group occupies a table and takes turns giving feedback to the people who’ve submitted.

When your work is being critiqued, we ask that you absorb the information first… not explain it or answer a bunch of questions from the people giving you their feedback. Save your questions for when the feedback has stopped and it’s your turn to ask questions of the people who’ve provided you with feedback, or perhaps explain a part of the story that may not have been clear to them when they read your work initially.

Should any obligation prevent you from attending a meeting for which you’ve submitted work for critique, you can provide feedback to your fellow writers, and receive feedback, virtually. You would need to send the files to the group that weekend to either pasadenawriters@gmail.com or docs@lawriterscritiquegroup.com. See the Critique Reciprocity Rule below for clarification.

Timing is Everything

If a group is large, it is sometimes necessary to time each person’s critique so that all of the writers receive feedback during the library session. In this instance, group co-leaders or trusted regulars may be charged with this task. Usually a cell phone is used to time each critique.

Keep in mind that each person providing feedback deserves the respect of the group. Group members, as well as the person receiving the feedback, are encouraged to be quiet and allow that person the floor.

Critique Reciprocity Rule

Every person who submits a manuscript must critique the manuscripts in his/her group and submit them for distribution no later than the day following the meetup, Sunday, at 11:59 p.m. The other writers read yours; you have to read theirs. If you do not critique as assigned, note the following:
You will not be able to submit a manuscript for the next session for which you RSVP. For that session, you will be assigned the role of Reader and will have to critique the manuscripts in your group and submit them on time. This applies to 10-page and 30-page submissions only.If you do not submit critiques more than once, you will not be permitted to submit again for three months.If you have questions, contact us at docs@lawriterscritiquegroup.com. This applies to 10-page and 30-page submissions only.If a submitter of the ‘long-form manuscripts’ (such as first 100 pages or full manuscript) does not critique all of the manuscripts in his/ her group, that submitter will not be permitted to submit manuscripts in the future.

Be Respectful or Leave

This group comes together to help each other become better writers. Disruptive behavior that can steal focus from our primary goal–to help each other become better writers–is discouraged. Our members and co-organizers are volunteers; no one is paid to listen to complaints or to change rules because one person wants to be exempt from them. We come together with a positive goal in mind. We expect our members to treat each other with respect before, during, and after our meetings. We expect constructive critiques. This is not to say that uncomfortable issues cannot be discussed in our critique group meetings. Insights that help us become better writers are welcomed. However, disruptive and self-aggrandizing behavior are not welcome. Members who disrespect others will be asked to leave.

Upcoming events (4)

Create dynamic scenes with emotional shifts (15-page submissions)

Link visible for attendees

***This is not a webinar. It is mainly a critique of member-submitted manuscripts that is preceded by a presentation on and discussion of a particular topic.***

(The 15-page deadline is Sunday, August 14. Detailed information for submitting manuscripts are at the end of this post.)

One of the characteristics of well-written scenes is they are essential to the story: important information is conveyed to the characters (and audience); the protagonist’s fortunes get better or worse; there is a distinct shift in emotion among characters.

It’s this last element that is the focus of the presentation. Join us for a discussion on a unique method for visualizing success. Stay for critiques of member-submitted stories. Learn how to create dynamic scenes by orchestrating dramatic (or subtle) emotional changes.

This meeting will be conducted through Zoom. It will also be password-protected to guard against Zoom bombing and other mishaps. The meeting link, meeting code, and password will be sent out via email a few days before the meeting.

To participate, please do the following:

1. Prepare your manuscript to conform to these submission guidelines: http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/submission-guidelines/

2. Email your excerpt to: [masked]

If your submission does not start at the beginning of the story, please include a summary of the work up until the point where your excerpt begins. To put it another way, if your submission begins from the first page of the story, a summary is not necessary. This summary will not count toward the manuscript total.

If your work contains graphic scenes or language that may be deemed offensive, please mention that in the submission email so that we may warn readers.

1
Ask a Question, Answer a Question

Needs a location

Hi everyone!

Since we have writers at different levels of experience and at different stages in the writing/editing/publishing/marketing process, I've set up this meeting for you to ask questions to and answer questions from the group. We don't have anyone set up to speak on a particular topic, but if you need advice or direction, you can put it out to the group and see what comes back. This should be an interesting experiment, and I look forward to being enlightened! Many times I come away with a book or other resource to check out when we get together, and I'm sure I'm not alone.

We will establish this meetup as a 30-page submission (with these submissions due midnight on August 28) and expand it to include 15-page submissions (due midnight September 4).

Manuscript submission instructions are here (please read them carefully):
http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/submission-guidelines/

For your critiques, please refer to our Manuscript Critique Guidelines here:
http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/critique-guidelines/We meet online via Zoom. Looking forward to “seeing” you there!
Please bring your enthusiasm for reading, writing, and learning new things.

Trade in abstract descriptions for concrete ones (15-page submissions)

Link visible for attendees

***This is not a webinar. It is mainly a critique of member-submitted manuscripts that is preceded by a presentation on and discussion of a particular topic.***

(The 15-page deadline is Sunday, September 18. Detailed information for submitting manuscripts are at the end of this post.)

He called. She texted. We FaceTimed. Accurate but unimaginative descriptions. They reveal little about character, say next to nothing about the circumstances, and hardly draw readers in.

He pressed the phone against his face as he spoke. She tapped her thumbs as fast as she could on the virtual keyboard. We stared at digital representations of each other transmitted through the ether. How about that? Don’t those make you feel like you’re right there rather than merely reading a report of events?

Join us for a talk on how to trade in flavorless descriptions for evocative ones. Stay for a discussion of member-submitted stories.

This meeting will be conducted through Zoom. It will also be password-protected to guard against Zoom bombing and other mishaps. The meeting link, meeting code, and password will be sent out via email a few days before the meeting.

To participate, please do the following:

1. Prepare your manuscript to conform to these submission guidelines: http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/submission-guidelines/

2. Email your excerpt to: [masked]

If your submission does not start at the beginning of the story, please include a summary of the work up until the point where your excerpt begins. To put it another way, if your submission begins from the first page of the story, a summary is not necessary. This summary will not count toward the manuscript total.

If your work contains graphic scenes or language that may be deemed offensive, please mention that in the submission email so that we may warn readers.

100-page critique (no presentation) on November 5, 2022

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Our semiannual 100-page critique is a great opportunity for gathering feedback! If you are an ACTIVE member of the LA Writers Critique Group and you have submitted critiques within three months of this meeting's deadline, you may submit up to 100 pages for critique before or at midnight on September 18, 2022.

To be eligible to submit, you MUST:
- Submit your work or be a reader who provides critiques for other writers' work within 3 months of the deadline.
-RSVP for this meeting, and be an active member of this group.
-Have a history of providing adequate critiques to other writers.

If we've never met you, your submission will be rejected.

There will be no presentation at this meeting, just critiques, since the works critiqued will be long. Be prepared to discuss all the works that are assigned to your group, and put notes for the authors on the electronic files that you will submit as part of your critique. We have a template for the Workshop Critique Form that can help you provide feedback to your fellow writers; please use this link to access it:
https://drive.google.com/drive/u/1/folders/1Qf-wKhemNqLmw_9wLLkDaey9-cqvZuqX

For your critiques, please refer to our Manuscript Critique Guidelines here: http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/critique-guidelines/

Our Critique Reciprocity Rule is important every week but especially when the works being critiqued are of a substantial length. Please refer to this web page for additional information: http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/give-and-take-within-the-group/

We act to remove any members who choose to participate in a 100-page critique and then do not provide adequate critiques for their assigned group members.

To participate, send your submissions (that should be between 50 and 100 pages, no longer) to [masked] before midnight PST on on Sunday, September 18.
Manuscript submission instructions are here (please read them carefully):
http://www.lawriterscritiquegroup.com/submission-guidelines/

If your submission does not start at the beginning of the story, please include a summary of the work up until the point where your excerpt begins. To put it another way, if your submission begins from the first page of the story, a summary is not necessary. This summary will not count toward the manuscript total.

If your work contains graphic scenes or language that may be deemed offensive, please mention that in the submission email so that we may warn readers.

We will meet on Zoom at 10 a.m. PST. Check your email for future messages related to this meetup and the information and links you need to access it online. Please bring your enthusiasm for reading, writing, and learning new things!

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