Creative Writing/Peer Review
Due to the overwhelming 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. Don't take it personally when people give negative criticism; not everyone can effectively suggest improvements, and you will eventually learn from your own mistakes to improve your next work. In a professional setting, this role is taken up by what is called an editor, and if you're one of the many people without one, you can often rely on friends and family instead.
Since the information age has been ushered in, the majority of writing has since been done in what is called a Word Processor. And creative writers are not the only ones who use these programs; one can also find them in schools and universities where it is the swiss army knife of documents, offline and online. The most common Word Processor is Microsoft Word for Windows and macOS, which is commonly bundled with Microsoft Office; if you can afford it, the program can do spelling and grammar checking automatically depending on what language packs you have installed. However, there are (and always will be) alternatives; LibreOffice Writer is the most prominent competitor on the desktop front, but if you don't mind using a limited set of features compared to Word and have an internet connection to spare, you can also use Google Docs.
While spellchecking and grammar checking isn't exactly peer review, it can still catch most errors better than humans. And while the old typewriters are great, a word processor is much better. If you like tactile keys, look into a keyboard with Cherry switches. Before another person checks your work, be sure to run a spell checker at least once.
Family or Friends
If you are married you could have your spouse peer review your work. This is something Stephen King does. Other writers, such as Kristin Cashore, have family members who are knowledgeable in combat read over fighting scenes for accuracy.
Another option could be to hire a freelance editor for a web publication to peer review your writing and make suggestions. If you're in college, you can use the college resources to peer review college-related work.
Writing groups normally consist 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. 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.
History of writing groups
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. 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
- Select a genre. The majority of writing groups focus specifically on one genre, so 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.
- Find several writing groups to evaluate.
- Select the group that matches closely with your areas of interest.
- Carefully read the rules of the group to ensure you can meet the demands the writing group will impose.
- Prepare your best work for the first meeting to make a good impression.
- 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
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
Online Peer Review
You can also check some wikis for writing help such as The Writing Wiki. After reading the articles, you can start writing in your sandbox user space and then ask to see how you can improve. Never start your own wiki articles until you understand the system, rules, and what type of writing and subjects they cover. Wiki farms like Wikia host a wide variety of projects on various subjects. 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.
- On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.
- Gere, Anne Ruggles (1987). Writing groups: history, theory, and implications. Southern Illinois University Press.
- Reeves, Judy (2002). Writing Alone, Writing Together: A Guide for Writers and Writing Groups. New World Library.
- Moss, Beverly J. (2003). Writing Groups Inside and Outside the Classroom. Lawrence Erlbaum.