Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Editing Groups Work (Part 2 of 4)

Procedures for an Editing Group

When I started the Scribe Tribe, I knew what I wanted to learn, and I didn't want distractions or disruptions. The longer the group met, the more I was able to write what I called procedures or guidelines to make us more efficient. I wrote the following advice for face-to-face groups, but most of this can apply to on-line groups.

1. Members commit themselves to (1) submit a manuscript as often as the group agrees; and (2) edit each submission received.

2. All members submit manuscripts to each other. Members agree to read all submissions and write comments on the manuscript. Send the edited manuscript to all members.

3. Except in unusual circumstances (and all members must agree), we ask non-submitting members to leave the group.

4. On MS Word, members submit publication-ready manuscripts, such as double-spaced, 12-point fonts, one-inch margins, headers on each page, starting the first page 3–4 inches from the top.

5. Members write editorial comments on the manuscript. They ask questions, point out difficulties, or suggest a different outline or approach. They often write a summary comment at the end of the manuscript.


  1. Cec, These are excellent guidelines. I live in a rural area of the NC mountains. I have not been successful in finding a local writers group. Perhaps I should consider an online editing group. Thanks, Cec. You are a blessing.

  2. Thank you so much for these posts. Right now I am working on Christian non-fiction writing. I agree with the previous comment from Nan. I am in a large city/metropolitan area, yet I am still finding it challenging to find an editing group. Is it best that the editing group is a group of people writing in the same genre? Again, thanks a million for these posts.

  3. Lisa emailed this note: Thank you so much for this invaluable information on editing groups as I work to begin one. Could you share an example of an edited submission for us new to the process?

  4. Thank you for posting my question here, Twila.
    Cec, I look forward to your answer as I'm trying to learn how to provide valuable feedback to my fellow writers.

  5. This is a great post and series for writers. After three critique groups I attended in my area were proven to be "unhealthy," I started one myself. Years ago I ran one in Arizona with 65 members. But I developed guidelines that work well and believe in all of Cec's points here. It makes me angry to see young writers turn red with embarrassment or actually shed tears due to a group run by a person's whims rather than a set of guidelines.

    If anyone would like to have a copy of my guidelines, email me at cindyscinto@comcast.net.

    Twila, is it okay I posted the offer here? I will email you what I use for you to review and for Cec. If I stepped out of bounds--delete me! 8^)

    LOVE and understanding rule my group--then grammar and editing next!


What are your thoughts?