poker chipsAs you may have surmised by now, I am a proud member of the Serivilous Panerians. We are a writing critique group, super serious about improving our craft and very little else.

Recently, our group has increased by three members and we are happy to welcome each and every one. However, when all of us are there, it makes the two hour time frame a bit tight.

Tracie to the rescue! For those of you who don’t know her, you are truly missing out. She is one of the smartest women I know and she came up with a sure cure for our time crunch issue. And, in case you ever find yourself in a similar pinch, I’m going to share her handy solution with you.

Note: Our group mostly does electronic evaluations. We email said evaluations to the respective members after the meeting. That remains the same with this method so that everyone still gets their full quota of readings.


1 basket or other open topped container. Basically, whatever suits your most recent flight of fancy.

Poker chips in two colors, one chip of each color for each member of your group.

A sharpie marker in the color of your choice. (Darker usually works better.)

Bring the chips and the basket to your next meeting. Have each person put their name on two chips in opposing colors. Drop the chips in the basket. Each person picks two chips, carefully avoiding their own. If their personal chip detector is out of whack, have them reselect until they get two people other than themselves. (You can probably think of a better solution, but I did not sleep well last night and am currently propping my eyelids open with pencil leads.)

Anyway…Now, each person gives a verbal critique for the two authors whose names they chose.

The result: everyone gets two verbal and six written evaluations AND everyone gets home before midnight. Unless they choose to stop at the nearest bar after the meeting. But that’s their own business. Hysterical giggling aside, we are all grown ups.

I think this is really going to work well for us and I’m so glad Tracie thought of it. What’s your favorite critique group methodology?


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