As requested, here's the run down of how my recent trial run of the critique crash course went. But first, let's all agree to call it Crit Camp from now on because critique crash course is a MOUTHFUL. Agreed? Agreed.
I ran two courses simultaneously. Each had 3 participants who all submitted roughly 5 pages of their manuscripts. We had a 1-hr introductory chat in which I offered an organized method of approaching critique and outlined what I wanted to see from them. Here's the nitty gritty:
- everyone submitted 50 pages and received 50 page samples from the others in the group (100 total pages for them, 300 total for me);
- we took a week to read and draft crit letters, which were then submitted to me; I reviewed, critiqued, and returned those letters to the authors for revision (a total of 12 letters for me);
- the participants revised and resubmitted based on my comments;
- I reviewed the revised letters before releasing them to the group and made both revised and pre-revised letters available to all participants for review.
The participants all seemed to walk away with a different (broader? more complicated? more pointed?) understanding of what critique can be, and I certainly saw immense improvement between the drafts of letters. So, I'm gonna go out on a limb and call this trial run a success.
I'll definitely be repeating the adventure. In fact, I already have ideas for how I'll improve the course next time around, so keep an eye on this space if you're interested. I have Plans.