And these people will become your team to kick you up into the major leagues of writing. A ‘team of specialists’, rather than a team of peers. He seems to suggest you should seek out specific types of people, befriend them and, well, use them. Sounds sleazy to me.
Look, I have nothing against the idea of paying someone for their help. If you have the cash to splash on poets, screenwriters and editors, go for it. I’m sure your work will be better for it. But here’s one of my big problems with this suggestion:
What’s in it for them?
A team of specialists sounds great but unless you’re living in certain parts of LA or Manhattan, you’re not likely to bump into these people at random. So, you’d be seeking out people, not for mutual assistance but for how they can benefit you. How very…Hollywood.
My idea of a critique group is a bunch of people who can help each other. Finding a group of people who are close to your level of skill, who understand the genres you write, who get along and are willing to help and commit to helping each other is difficult enough. Sure, it would be great if your fellow writers were ALL OF THAT + publicists, screenwriters, poets, editors, journalists, etc. But if you find a group like that, you might as well go buy lottery tickets and really cash in.
A critique group is not just a clubhouse but it’s not just mercenaries guild, either. What you need, I think, are people who can:
Read your work and think about prior to your group meetings
Look critically at your work
Understand the genre you’re trying to sell in
Tell you if it entertains
Always tell you the truth about what does and doesn’t work
That’s hard enough. That’s good enough. That’s frelling GREAT, if you ask me. Or any of the other Wordslingers.
*the ‘Red Pen of Doom’, http://redpenofdoom.com/2012/05/16/build-your-own-writing-monster/