On Saturday I attended the LA Critiquenic in Roxbury Park. It was the first time I had attended it, and now I wonder why I didn't attend before! There were about sixty attendees, and we were in groups of about eight. Each group was organized by genre and was led by a published author. I was lucky enough to be in Cecil Castellucci's group (she's the author of young adult novels and graphic novels).
Our group would begin by the author reading her work, and then Castellucci would "send the author to the moon" while the rest of the group would critique what we had heard. The point was for the author to listen to the comments before asking questions or addressing the critique in any way. I thought this was a brilliant way to keep from getting defensive or talking over the critiquers. If you're at the moon, then you can't respond even if you'd like to. After everyone gave their comments, the author would return from the moon and get to respond.
I'm glad that I attended because Castellucci's comments helped me look at my novel in a fresh way. I think you can be so close to a work that sometimes you miss things. I left the Critiquenic feeling energized.
Next year if you're in the Los Angeles area I would highly suggest attending. It's free, which is incredible considering that I've paid forty-five dollars for a critique from a published author not including the price of the event itself (usually around eighty-five for a half day seminar). It isn't perfect. You have to deal with the noise of children playing in the park, and worry over parking meters, but the benefits definitely outweigh the costs.
4 hours ago