As mentioned in another thread, one of the things we will be encouraging with the new Challenge is the member-initiated formation of small critique/buddy groups. This will enable members to seek input and proofing from their Challenge buddies before submitting their entries.
The initial idea and writing of the entry still needs to be by the individual member. However, in a complete reversal to everything we've said until now, after the initial writing has been done (and self-edited), members are encouraged to work with their buddy group to fine tune their entry and hone their skills.
Please note: Professional editing is still off limits.
Also, unlike the past, we will now be encouraging buddies to be from a mixture of levels. In other words, from now on we would love to see groups comprising members from at least three different levels (although, of course, those levels will change as people move up the ranks, and that's fine).
Challenge buddies work together by email, so buddies can be from anywhere in the world. The only suggestion would be to probably have poetry buddies stick together.
So, why am I suddenly lightening up on this? Simple answer--to ensure everyone has the opportunity to submit their best work each week, and the room to grow as a writer by being a part of a Challenge critique group.
Anyway, if you would like to find a Challenge buddy group (or get one started), either post a new message in this forum or post a response to another person's post in this forum. (Don't post a buddy request in reply to this message, as your request may end up getting lost in a long thread.)Challenge Buddy Forum
When you start a new buddy request thread, make sure you mention what level you are currently in and also whether you are looking for poetry buddies or prose buddies.
Try to limit the groups to no more than four people (one from each level initially, if possible, but don't stress if you double up). Also, try to commit to be in that particular buddy group for at least one series of the Challenge (in other words, for the duration of one Challenge theme). Of course, that may not always be possible, but at least try to make that commitment to one another.
When acting as a buddy, use the judges' rating categories to help pick up the weaknesses and strengths of each piece.
Anyway, this is a complete turn around from everything we've said before regarding buddies, and I'll be more than happy to answer any queries you may have. The important thing is to provide every opportunity for you all to make your entries shine.