Writing Critique Groups – Listening vs Reading

I’ve been reading some ‘how to run a writer’s group’ blogs and I’ve been really surprised. Many of the how to’s say reading work out loud on the night of the session, “brings the work to life.”


MAYBE, if you’re writing poetry, or drama, a screenplay or a heavy-on-the-literary-type literary novel. But for your everyday literature or genre novel, I strongly disagree.

IMO, reading is a completely different experience and requires different comprehension skills from listening. Some say reading uses one part of the brain (the smarter part) while listening uses the outer ear (a dumber part) and never really sinks into the meat of the brain. Blah, blah, blah.

I’ve worked with a number of writing and critique groups and I’ve always found that groups that send work ahead of time, and then spend their meeting time providing constructive, supportive critiques, work the best for me. Not to mention, that when I can get other eyes on my pages to fix the misspellings I’ve missed, like the — their and they’re — mistakes, or to have a voice of reason who can highlight the holes in my plot points, are abundantly helpful.

But that’s just my opinion. What do you think?

One thought on “Writing Critique Groups – Listening vs Reading

  1. For what it's worth, I always read my work out loud (hopefully mostly to myself) before I submit, because sometimes it just SOUNDS wrong (or strong). However, I don't dig the idea of sitting around reading stories aloud (as in a writer's group) and agree that the send ahead/critique in person idea works best in that format. There is the whole visual/auditory learner thing to think about too, I guess.


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