Anyone who’s spent serious time in a writing group or workshop knows that not all members’ opinions are equal.
Everyone has different tastes, biases, and motives. You may occasionally find the class or group split right down the middle on a particular phrase, character, line, or plot point– half of them pleading with you to take it out, half of them claiming it’s essential to your work!
So how do you listen to the good suggestions and sift out the bad? — Check out Kristen Lamb’s article “Can Critique Groups Do More Harm Than Good?”
Running your own informal writing workshop can be a difficult but rewarding experience. It ain’t easy to get a group of people together who are promising writers AND critical readers, who are honest but nurturing in their feedback, who are committed to meeting frequently, and who don’t smell like cheap wine all the time.
But think of the American expats meeting at 27 Rue de Fleurus. Think of the Inklings congregating in the corner of some Oxford Pub. You could be the founder of a similar literary club that makes history! And even if you don’t make history, you’ll be making each other better writers. And THAT would seem to be the true measure of its success.