Writers Round Table

What writing support systems have worked best for you (critique partners, local writer’s groups, chat loops)?

Cate Masters: I’ve taken part in all three, but can’t live without my crit partners. I depend on their expertise and keen insights to catch the flaws in my manuscripts before they reach any editor. I’m so lucky to have found such a group of funny, intelligent, supportive and tough writers. When I can, I also love to attend local workshops and conferences. There’s nothing like spending time with other authors who understand my obsession with imaginary characters!
Find out more about Cate at http://catemasters.blogspot.com

Regina Duke: Local writers and chat groups have always been a huge support system for me. Chat groups have played the biggest support role, in a general information and cheering section sense. As for actual improvements to my writing skills, I have met individuals through writers’ groups with whom I have formed working relationships with. One such helper turned out to be a professor of script writing at a New Jersey university. My writing improved dramatically over the course of two years of her coaching! Priceless assistance. And my current editor, Marian Kelly, has been improving my stories for many years.
I have not had great luck in the area of critique partners. When I was working full time, I just never had the extra hours in a week to attend meetings or do my share of the critiquing. But I know critique groups can be excellent when a writer finds the right “fit.”
Find out more about Regina: http://www.reginaduke.com

Mariposa Cruz: My first experience with a chat group aimed at writer mamas was a disaster.  The discussions were all rants about kids—nothing about writing.  Fortunately, I’ve become involved in a local romance writers loop which stays on point while maintaining a friendly atmosphere.   Several of our members have published independently and their know-how and support have been instrumental in opening a new avenue of publishing for me.    


  1. Cate & Regina,
    I agree, the support of other writers either on-line or in-person can make such a difference! The Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC) Writers' Conference is also an excellent source of information and inspiration. Thanks for joining us at the Round Table today!

  2. I have a fabulous critique partner. I live in Virginia and she lives in Washington state. We've never met face-to-face, but our creative spirits are pretty much in sync. She's been a great help. I belong to a local writers group that meets once a week, but they tend to look down their warted noses at romance writers, fools that they are.

    1. Hi, Vonnie. :-) I'm back from my Yankees weekend, and I wanted to let you know I appreciate your comments.

      Oh, my, a writers' group that looks down on romance? They haven't tried to write one yet!

  3. Vonnie,
    Like-minded creative spirits are hard to find, how did you meet your critique partner? I also write freelance and general fiction and I've received the most collaboration and support from my fellow romance writers.

  4. I've met loads of supportive writers on loops and in our local group. Never had a crit partner until a month ago. A fellow author friend and I were both finishing up revisions on full length works, and both feeling they still needed something more. So, we swapped. Her ideas were spot on and stilled all those nagging voices in my head that kept telling me my book wasn't ready yet. Yes there is a huge time commitment to critiquing someone else's work, but it can be extremely helpful.

    1. So glad you were able to find a critique partner. It's such a special relationship, and when you find the right person, it's priceless.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi Cate and Regina,
    I have a good friend who will read my stories. She has no problems letting me know what doesn't make sense or if something falls flat. And this is exactly what I need. I can't have it sugarcoated if I want someone to publish it. No one sees the story until she's looked it over.

    I've also met a lot of authors on the loops who have been really supportive, too. RAMP yahoo group and TWRP authors have been great. Also the indieromanceink yahoo group has author who are very supportive.

    Hey, Mariposa (off subject) Teen Wolf season 2 starts soon! Howling in delight! lol

    1. Karen, I agree that the IndieRomanceInk group on Yahoo is an amazing resource. I learn so much there!

      I think authors are a special bunch of people who really seem to enjoy "paying it forward," as they say. :-)

      Thanks for dropping by!

  6. Mariposa, I've been to a few "writers" meetings which quickly spiraled into tales of personal woe. Not cool! And I never went back. :) It's so great to find a good match in critique partners.

    Regina, how cool that you ran into a writing professor! You're so lucky.

    The loops are wonderfully supportive, Karen and Jannine. I love the feedback from experienced authors too.

    Thanks so much for hosting the Roundtable, Mariposa!

    1. Cate, it was very cool! We hit it off right away, and she read everything I wrote for two years and was basically my critique partner. But being a writing instructor, her suggestions were priceless!

  7. Cate,
    Unfortunately, some people take the cathartic aspect of writing a little too far. But it is so worth it to keep looking to find the right people.

    Janinne and Karen,
    Loops are a great source of support and there are many good ones out there.
    And Karen, I can hardly wait for the next season!

  8. Sorry I'm late in replying to your wonderful comments! I had the chance to go out of town and see the Yankees play this weekend, so I was busy cheering at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday & Sunday.

    Thank you so much, Mariposa, for letting me share my views here, and thanks to all of you who commented.


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