Support/Critique Groups

We encourage members of CWC-BB to take advantage of the many resources the Club offers. Critique groups are one resource and a major support for our writers. We offer a wide variety of groups for different genres. The groups meet at varying times and are of different sizes, largely determined by the available meeting spaces. Each existing group has a contact person listed so you can request more information.

We add new critique groups as members request them or individuals are moved to start one. As you will see from the descriptions below, groups have created the processes that work for them. New groups can determine meeting time, meeting place and the critique process. If you have other questions or suggestions, please contact: barbaragilvar@earthlink.net.

Five-Page Group

This group reviews prose–fiction, nonfiction, query letters, proposals. Meets year-round on 3rd Saturday of each month, 1-5 p.m., in the 2nd-floor meeting room of the Rockridge library, 5366 College Avenue, Oakland, CA 94618. Attendance averages 16 people. Eight manuscripts are reviewed in the order of arrival after manuscripts left over from the previous meeting are reviewed. First-timers are welcome to bring a submission or simply sit in.

Bring 16 copies of up to five pages, numbered, double-spaced, with indented paragraphs. On first page provide title and author’s name, and note if submission is fiction or nonfiction. If the pages submitted are part of a larger work and not the beginning, include a brief one-paragraph synopsis.  Participants read silently on-site, marking pages, and discussion follows. Readers sign the drafts they have worked on. More information at writefox@aol.com.

Sixteen Eyes Group

Our eight members are writing novels and short stories, literary and genre; narrative nonfiction with a strong creative aspect is also welcome. We have  a warm, supportive atmosphere and in-depth and incisive criticism, with the goal of helping our members publish.

Authors submit up to twenty double-spaced pages and e-mail them to members prior to the meeting. Each member critiques the submissions, including broad issues of craft and line editing, and e-mails them back to members.

At the meeting we discuss storyline, character development, dialogue, pacing and mood, etc. We encourage a wide range of opinions and lively exchanges as long as they are in the spirit of helping the author. We take turns submitting, averaging once per month. We meet every other Thursday evening from 7:00 pm to 9:00 in cafés or members’ homes in Oakland or Berkeley.

To preserve our size, group chemistry, and mutual trust, we have an application procedure. Click here for more information on how to apply as well as additional information about the group. For other questions, contact: Bruce Shigeura, bshigeura@comcast.net. As always, if people are interested in this model for critiquing and this group is full, we have the option of adding another group.

Novel Writers Group (Formerly Mystery Writers)

This group includes people who are writing novels, mysteries,  or a memoir. Meets every other Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. Participants submit a new or edited chapter every two weeks. Group takes breaks in summer and for all major holidays.

Having six participants works for critiquing whole chapters.  Interested CWC members are encouraged to inquire, as membership changes during each year. For more information, email: perryjill@yahoo.com.

Meeting during the day works for the current members, but if people are interested in this group and are only available in the evening, we could start a second group. Email: barbaragilvar@earthink.net

Writing for Children Group: Kiddie Lit-ers (Currently on hiatus until further notice)

Kiddie Lit-ers write for children. Currently, our members are writing a storybook, poems, a nonfiction science book for early readers, picture books, a fractured fairy tale, a chapter book, and a middle-grade novel. No one in the group has yet tackled Young Adult (YA), but it hasn’t been ruled out.

The seven of us meet in the evening on the second Wednesday of the month. We bring up to five pages of writing to share and make enough copies so that each member of the group has a copy. The first half hour is usually devoted to sharing news, discussing resources, comparing notes from writing conferences, and informing the group where we each stand in our publishing efforts. Once we begin our critique session, we find out how many people have writing to share and then divide our time accordingly. We take turns reading aloud each others’ writing and then critique it.

Because we rotate hosting the meetings at our houses and we want to be able to spend a reasonable amount of time on each piece (usually 15–20 minutes), we’re currently at our limit. But if you’re interested in joining our group, you can email Debbie Frisch (dndnl2@mac.com) with your information, and she can let you know if/when a space becomes available. Or if you’re interested in starting your own critique group of children’s writers, email Barbara Gilvar (barbaragilvar@earthlink,net ) so she can help you find others to form a group.

Middle Grades/Young Adult Group

This group meets every four weeks in members’ homes. They submit 20 double-spaced pages to each other two weeks before the meeting. A few members of the group have completed novels and are beginning a second one. Others are in the process of creating a first novel.

Meetings are on Wednesday evenings at a private home. If you are interested in joining a Support/Critique Group for Middle Grades or Young Adult audiences, please email Walter Price at: walter-price@att.net 

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