Finding a good critique group can be challenging, especially when you are new to writing and don’t know what to look for. It doesn’t help that there are a variety of group styles to choose from. No style is better than the others, what matters is whether it works for its members. Some groups meet once a week, others once a month. There are groups where dedicated writers gather together to work at their craft, others are strictly social gatherings for like-minded individuals.
The difficulty in finding a good group is, like all other groups, they can be dysfunctional. Stories of writing groups gone bad are pervasive on the internet. Unfortunately, new writers are particularly susceptible to falling prey to dysfunctional groups. Holly Lisle’s Blog mentions some of these groups: Circle of Friends, Masters and Slaves, and Sharks and Dinner. It only takes one person to completely change the dynamic of a group, quickly spiraling from circle of friends to sharks and dinner.