Becky Levine is a writer, who, like many of us, is in a critique group. Her group has been together for ten years. In my own experience, a critique is a little like a marriage. You get to know one another very well. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. For example, some of us are better at dialogue, some of us at constructing plot. Becky’s book, THE WRITING AND CRITIQUE GROUP SURVIVAL GUIDE is a wonderful book that outlines the subtle etiquette of manners and how-to for being in a group, as well as how to give and receive feedback constructively, and how to revise and self-edit. I loved the book so much; we’re giving one away. To win it, just leave a comment at the bottom and we’ll use random.org to pick the winner.
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: Tell us about your book.
Becky Levine: The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide is a how-to book for writers who are either just starting to critique or who have been part of a group but still want some tips for strengthening the critique process. The book has sections about finding or starting a group, critiquing different fiction and nonfiction genres, and sustaining a group for the long haul.
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: How long did it take to write?
Becky Levine: Terry Gross from NPR’s Fresh Air radio show. That is, I’d want to give it to her, if I knew that she’d read it, love it, and invite me for an interview! Other than that, I would be happy if Oakley Hall, the writing teacher who got me started with critiquing, could read it, but he passed away a few years ago. So...I guess I’d give it to that person standing on the edge of joining a group, the one who’s hesitating at the door of the coffeehouse and seriously thinking about just not going in. Because I think the book would get them inside.
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: What is your most favorite line in your book?
Becky Levine: Wow! Great question. I had to go back and take a look through the book, but I found one I like a lot and that, honestly, I think I needed to hear right now. So, thanks! “The strongest weapon against self-doubt is the confidence that comes from strengthening skills.”
Kathryn Fitzmaurice: List three things you can’t live without.
Becky Levine: We’ve been together around ten years now. I started the group with a writer I met through the California Writers Club and another writer I was already in a group with, when I was working on a mystery novel. They also both wrote mysteries, and I wanted to be in a genre-specific group. I wrote a MG mystery with them, then I switched gears to historical YA and picture books. We added a couple more writers, also old friends, who are writing fantasy and historical. We meet every couple of weeks, and we deliver scenes or chapters to each other the week before the meeting. We deliver overall feedback about things like plot, character, voice, dialogue, etc; and we also give comments about the specific text on the pages. Sometimes we brainstorm plots and characters and, if we don’t have anything to critique, we try to meet and get some writing time in.
and here is a link to Becky Levine’s website [http://beckylevine.com/] in case anyone would like to get in touch with you.