Thursday, February 6, 2020

Best Critique Partners

I have been fortunate in my writing life to have the support of two wonderful groups and other brilliant individuals.

The first group came at a very difficult time in my life when I was searching for answers. I found my first writing home on Thursday nights at an organization called Women Writing for A Change in Cincinnati. I spent several happy years there communing with other writers and finding my voice.

Then I moved and it took several more years for me to get out and meet other local writers. I had several writing partners and finally found a steady group we called the Ladyscribes made up of several members over time: Sharon Pielemeier, Susan Hoskins Miller, Tracy Richardson, Janet Koberna Skoog, Cameron Steiman, Kathie Huddleston, Rita Woods and Cynthia Adams. I met most of my tribe through the Midwest Writers Workshops at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana. I have also had the pleasure of working with authors Nicole Amsler and Jennifer Jensen.

There is nothing more affirming than finding your tribe. I learned so much from them all and could not have written my four book young adult series, Mythikas Island, without their collective wisdom and encouragement.

Critiquing other writers' work helps you improve you own writing in unique ways. Every scene read is filtered through multiple lenses and points of view. You can't buy that kind of feedback, even with a developmental editor.

While I went the self-publishing route, Rita Woods  met a terrific agent at the MWW in 2009. Rita writes some of the richest prose I've ever read. Her characters, settings, and dialogue dance on the page. I have read thousands of books, and place Rita in the top ten authors list - and that would be true even if I had never met her.

It has taken many years to bring her first project to fruition (the start of I am certain many many more). Most agents would have given up, but #Diversity and #OwnVoices changed the fabric of the traditional publishing field and I am thrilled to announce the release of her first book #Remembrance , a fantasy take on the underground railroad, published by Forge Books and released on January 21, 2020.

Remembrance…It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy…if you can make it there.

Ohio, present day. An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young nurse grapples with her life.
Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers.
1857 New Orleansa city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper.... Remembrance.

Another benefit of finding your tribe is having a support group to get you through the hard times and cheerleaders to celebrate your success!

Further Reading:

Ten Tips for Finding Your Writing Tribe

The Benefits of Genre Associations

Five Kinds of Critique Groups

Ten Tips for a Successful Critique Group

What Type of Writer Are You Part 1

What Type of Writer Are You Part 2

What Type of Writer Are You Part 3

Diana Hurwitz is the author of Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of Conflict, Story Building Blocks II: Crafting Believable Conflict, Story Building Blocks III: The Revision Layers, and the YA adventure series Mythikas Island. Her weekly blog, Game On: Crafting Believable Conflict explores how characters behave and misbehave. Visit for more information and free writing tools. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. I need a tribe. Hard to find in rural Trump country.

  2. Diana, I lived in Muncie, IN for 16 years and graduated from BSU, so I'm very familiar with the excellent Midwest Writers Workshop and also their early development of Magna cum Murder which is now held in Indianapolis. It really does help to live in a community where writers are celebrated and educated. It sounds like you were very fortunate in finding your tribes over time. Colorado is like that for writers...with organizations and conferences all up and down the Front Range.

  3. I went to the Colorado Gold conference once. It had great presentations.

  4. Changing writing friends is one reason I don't want to move, though my main critique partner is closer if I do. I'm just so set in my house and my ways, and I love my writing friends here. I'm glad you've found your tribe, twice.

  5. Writer friends are such a valuable support to us all in our work. You've had some good ones, Diana & I'm eager to check out the book by Rita Woods. Read the sample at Amazon & it's so well done.

  6. Fabulous post, Diana! Maybe I'll get brave and look for a tribe (or perhaps get even braver and start one). On another note, I really want to read Remembrance.


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