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Monday, June 25, 2012

Coffee and Critique Writers' Group Update

A lot has happened since I last posted here about the Coffee and Critique Writers' Group. I checked with Tricia and got the okay to once again use the blog to post basic information and updates about the critique group.

More than five years ago, Donna Volkenannt and Lou Turner started a new critique group named Coffee and Critique. Originally the group met on Tuesdays (alternating each week with mornings and evenings) at the Barnes and Noble in St. Peters, MO. The evening group was sparsely attended, so we went to mornings only and changed our location to the Rendezvous Cafe on Main Street in O'Fallon, MO. Most, but not all, members of Coffee and Critique also belong to the Saturday Writers chapter of the Missouri Writers' Guild.

The motto of Coffee and Critique Writers' Group is to "be candid but kind." Our goal is to give honest feedback respectfully, with the intent of helping one another become the best writers they can be. We are a serious group, but we don't take ourselves too seriously. We are a friendly group, but over the years we've found it necessary to have some guidelines.

Member and award-winning writer W. E. Bill Mueller helped Donna and Lou come up with these:

Tuesday Morning Coffee & Critique

15 Guidelines & How We Run Things

1. The Tuesday Morning Coffee &Critique group meets every Tuesday morning, 10am-Noon. The current meeting site is The Rendezvous Café in O’Fallon, MO.

2. The group critiques all styles of writing: fiction, memoirs, essays, articles—but no poetry.

3. Members at all levels of writing skill are welcome to bring their work at whatever stage they feel comfortable reading and having critiqued. But—please polish beforehand and read your work out loud before bringing it in.

4. Reading is limited to 5 (five) pages maximum.

5. Make approximately 12 copies of your work available for distribution, keeping one for yourself to read from. Pages can be stapled or paper-clipped together.

6. Your manuscript should be prepared using 12pt. Times New Roman or a comparable font, double-spaced, one-inch margins.

7. Manuscripts with graphic, pointless sex, violence and crude language are generally not welcome.

8. If a manuscript contains graphic scenes and language that is integral to the material, the scenes/language should be skipped in reading. It is all right to have the scenes/language in the manuscript, but reading it aloud is not permitted.

9. Critiquing begins with the person to the left of the reader and continues around the table, clockwise.

10. Each person is allowed two (2) minutes to critique a read manuscript. Others are asked not to interrupt while someone else is critiquing.

11. The person whose manuscript is being critiqued is generally not allowed to rebut, although answering direct questions is permitted.. The manuscript is “yours”—critiques can be accepted or rejected, but not argued.

12. Not everyone will get to read each week. If you sign up but don’t get to read your name will go to the top of the list the following week.

13. While we do not charge to belong, we strongly encourage everyone to purchase a beverage or food from the café because they provide meeting space to us for free. And due to health concerns, the restaurant has asked us not to bring in any outside food or drink.

14. Members are welcome to bring in their books to sell before or after critiques begin, but no other items are to be sold during meetings.

15. Have fun. While the Tuesday Morning C&C group is serious about its purpose, we are intent on having fun while doing it. All criticism is given well-meaning and should not be taken personally. We are critiquing your work—not you!

There you have it.

We welcome new members. If you are interested in joining us, e-mail dvolkenannt (at) for more information.


BECKY said...

Thanks, Donna. Great idea to start posting info here again!

Bookie said...

A great list and positive guidelines. Many are ones you gave me for our guild. So far it works for us. Still a small group but I am longing for time when we can break off into critique special interest groups like yours....

Donna Volkenannt said...

Hi Becky,
Thanks. It was great to see you at C&C today. Your enthusiasm is contagious!

Hi Claudia,
You are so sweet. Your Joplin group is a talented group of writers.