These guidelines have been created by the group in the interest of fairness to veterans and newcomers alike.

  • We have a variety of writers in our group encompassing various genres. Of course,
    you may not be familiar with or particularly care for every genre, but make an effort
    to objectively read and consider each submission regardless of your own particular
    tastes. The goal is not for everyone to write something that everyone in the group
    would buy in a store and read. The goal is to create great stories that deliver for
    their particular audience.
  • Written comments should be provided for each of the submitters at the meeting. Some
    members choose to print the entire manuscript and write comments throughout. Others
    provide a written summary.  
  • Copy-editing is always appreciated; however please examine the structural aspects of
    the story as well. Every story, regardless of genre, will possess the same three
    elements: PLOT, CHARACTER, SETTING. How well are each of these achieved? 
  • Critiques are meant to be direct, constructive, honest and as specific as possible.
    Point out what works well and what doesn’t. Suggest ways to improve.
  • Personal attacks upon fellow group members will not be tolerated. 

LISTENING (taking a critique)
  • Accepting criticism of your work can be hard, but everyone at AWG is trying to improve,
    just like you.
  • Feel free to take notes during the critique.
  • Things go smoother if you there aren’t interruptions during the critiques. You will be
    given an opportunity to ask questions and make comments when everyone has finished
    reviewing your piece. 
  • No one person’s opinion is absolute truth. Don’t try to defend your submission if you
    don’t agree with a particular critique. If someone makes a suggestion that you don't
    agree with, feel free to disregard it. However, if twelve people make the same
    suggestion - this might be an indication of universal opinion. 
  • Don’t let a harsh critique stop you. Many writers, including those published and
    well-respected, go through as many as 20-30 (sometimes more) drafts of the same story
    before it is accepted for publication. A harsh critique is not necessarily indicative
    of a dead end.  

  • New members must attend two meetings before submitting their own work. 
  • Members may not submit for two consecutive meetings unless there is an open slot that
    can’t be filled. 
  • Submissions should be between 1 and 18 pages in length (less than 6000 words).
  • No one scene/chapter/portion of a piece can be submitted more than 3 times.
  • You do not have to submit pieces in order to attend meetings. Feel free to come and
    critique until you feel comfortable putting your own work out there.
  • If a submission is part of a larger work, please provide a concisely written synopsis
    of the stories’ previous events to help the reader understand where they are in the story.
  • Make every effort to attend the meetings for which you have submitted. Everyone
    understands that emergencies happen, but if at all possible let us know ahead of time.
  • All submissions must be in one of the following file types: .DOC, .DOCX, .TXT, or .RTF. If 
    you have any problem understanding how to submit in an acceptable file format, ask for help.
  • The deadline for submissions is at 9:00 p.m. on the SUNDAY prior to the Thursday meeting.
    Late submitters are subject to a bit of nagging and meaningful looks at the meeting. Early
    submitters may gloat if they wish. 

  • As writers, a necessary tool is a thick skin. The process of critiquing and being 
    critiqued can make many folks nervous. Observations can feel like accusations. Criticism
    can feel like insult. We must, as writers, be able to handle feedback. 
  • That being said, our writers' group is intended to be a safe place to grow as writers.
    Any of the following is considered off limits and grounds for expulsion from the group: 
    • Personal attacks on members of the group.  
    • Unwanted sexual advances.  If you don't know what this means, don't join.  
    • Any act that negatively affects the safety of the members of the group.
    • Talking over others or interrupting the flow of the meeting.
    • Failing to show up on the night you are due to be critiqued without advanced notice. 
      If people spend time reading and critiquing your submission, they aren't going to be
      happy if you don't show. While emergencies may be understandable, repetitive emergencies
      are more likely poor planning rather than catastrophically bad luck.
    • Failing to show up several meetings in a row without notice.  Missing a meeting or two
      here and there is understandable (we all have other things going on).  But even then,
      it would be great to know if you aren't showing (even if you are not a submitter).
      After missing a few meetings in a row without notice, we will assume you are MIA and
      remove you from the group.

Akron Writers' Group
Akron, Ohio