Creative Writing/Peer Review

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Due to the over-whelming challenge of being pessimistic of one's own work, having peers constructively criticize will help you improve misunderstandings within your work. Sometimes it takes another pair of eyes to see what you missed in your own writing. Please don't get upset by the feedback some people give creative criticism and others give negative criticism, but you will eventually learn by your own mistakes to improve your writing and that requires peer review and feedback from others. In a professional setting this role will normally be taken by an editor, although friends and family are also often helpful.

Word Processors[edit]

In today's digital world, many writers have word processing programs. If you can afford a Word processing program it can check the spelling and grammar, if you cannot afford one many are free such as, IBM Lotus Symphony, AbiWord, that may be able to help. Note this is not a Peer Review but can help with the spelling and grammar as well as formatting. The old typewriters are great, but a word processor is much better. Once you have corrected your spelling and grammar, you can have another person peer review your work.

Family or Friends[edit]

If you are married you could have your spouse peer review your work, this is something Stephen King does. [1] Other writers, such as Kristin Cashore, have family members knowledgeable in combat read over fighting scenes for accuracy.

Professional Services[edit]

You could hire someone who is an editor from a freelance web site to peer review your writing and make suggestions. If you are in college you can use the college resources to peer review your work if it is college related.

Writing Groups[edit]

Writing groups are normally composed of three to forty authors who share similar writing styles and genres, although a small percentage of writing groups do focus on helping authors adopt and adapt to new styles and genres[2]. These groups are formed to help writers overcome the daily obstacles authors face such as removing the solitary nature of writing, thwarting writers block, giving honest critiques of the authors work and helping define and structure the members works[3].

History of writing groups[edit]

The exact origin of writing groups is not known. One of the earliest writing groups on records in the Americas was called The Spy Club, it was organized at Harvard in 1719[4]. The internet has allowed authors to increase the depth and breadth of writing groups available to them by eliminating geographical boundaries that traditionally made it difficult to form niche writing groups.

How to find and join a writing group[edit]

  1. Select a genre. The majority of writing groups focus specifically on one genre, if you wish to work in multiple genre’s you should join multiple writing groups. Common genres include fiction, nonfiction, scriptwriting, playwriting, poetry and romance[5].
  2. Find several writing groups to evaluate.
    • In person writing groups can be found on Craig's List under “writing” in the “gigs” section and “writers” in the “discussion forums” section.
    • Online writing groups can be found by search for “Writing Group” with most search engines(Google, Yahoo).
  3. Select the group that matches closely with your areas of interest.
  4. Carefully read the rules of the group to ensure you can meet the demands the writing group will impose.
  5. Prepare your best work for the first meeting to make a good impression.
  6. Learn from the group and offer guidance. Writing groups are about learning and teaching. The more you put into a writing group the more you will get out.

As a university instruction method[edit]

Several notable universities including Harvard, University of Arkansas, Brigham Young University, Stanford and Yale use writing groups as the primary instruction method for advanced writing courses. These writing groups differ from traditional writing groups because of the professor student relationship that exists in universities. Professors do not participate in the writing group by submitting their work, they instead offer guidance and structure as the class critiques each students work.

Example online writing groups[edit]

Online Peer Review[edit]

Check some of the Wiki web sites for writing help such as The Writing Wiki. Read the articles and start writing short stories in your sandbox user space and then ask for peer reviews to see how you can improve. Never start your own Wiki articles until you understand a Wiki system, the Wiki`s rules and laws, and what type of writing and subjects they cover. Some web sites such as Wikia host a wide variety of Wiki sites on various subjects. One can join any Wiki of any subject they wish to write about and get peer reviews from that Wiki from writing in your sandbox user space. The Wikia Writing Wiki will be of much help for peer reviews.

How to do a peer review will tell you more about the Peer Review process and what to expect.


  1. "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft"
  2. Gere, Anne Ruggles (1987). Writing groups : history, theory, and implications. Southern Illinois University Press
  3. Reeves , Judy (2002). Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups. New World Library.
  4. Gere, Anne Ruggles (1987). Writing groups : history, theory, and implications. Southern Illinois University Press
  5. Moss , Beverly J. (2003). Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom. Lawrence Erlbaum.