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If you are in a irl Writer's Group, (Paula, others?)

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Hi Lisa,


I don't pop in here often anymore, but this is a question I can help with.


I've been a member of a read and critique group for almost eight years. Love those crazy people!


We meet weekly. Originally on Tuesday evenings, but now on Saturday mornings. There is a sign in board...first come, first served. Generally seven or eight people get to read in a session. There may be as many as 12-28 others in the room. (Sometimes we divide into two rooms so more people can read.) When it's your turn to read, you can pass out hard copies or just read your piece. You have 15 minutes to read, then the remaining five minutes of your time is for critique. Other members will ask questions, make comments, and offer suggestions. One vastly important rule we have: NO DEFENDING by the writer. (For example, when I write sci-fi, and someone questions how one of my characters speaks, I can NOT explain it to them. I must keep quiet.) The point of no defending is to make the writer think. When I disagree, I keep my mouth zipped and go home and think about it. After a while I often come around to the critiquer's POV. lol


We are a first amendment group. A person can bring just about anything to read, but must announce if the material contains graphic s*x, violence, or language. Anyone who doesn't want to hear that subject is free to excuse themselves during that read. Last Saturday, we had poetry, fantasy, a couple of thrillers, historical non-fiction, and a cozy mystery...the variety is quite fun.


Critique has taught me SO much. It's all about the work...and no one values writing like other writers. My group excels in being firm and supportive. We will point out flaws and problems, but we try to be gentle and kind about it. There are groups that are tougher and a bit meaner. Still, critique is valuable. It gives you a different perspective on how your writing is perceived.


We pay yearly dues, have a website and a yahoo group for communicating. In the past, we've organized seminars and conference. Valuable, but incredible amounts of work.


There is a board of directors--past president, current pres., v.p., treasurer, and secretary. Business meetings are conducted the first meeting of the month at the beginning of the meeting. It does take structure to make a group work together.


What else....?


I've listened week after week, chapter after chapter to a writer's story and later held their hardback book in my hands. Nothing compares...except maybe holding your own hardback!


To find my group, I googled various things and finally struck gold. Librarians are often good at knowing when and where groups meet.


Did I help? I consider writing groups to be very valuable resources. Most people have to be 'taught' how to write for publication--it's so different from school writing.

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I used to be in a very small writer's group. There were only 5 of us. We only met once a month but all of us read each time we met. We would read up to a chapter of new material. We would hand out reading copies so that people could read along while we read out loud. We did not have a strict no defending rule because sometimes someone just had a question of clarification but we did jot down notes about what questions we were asked etc. because if someone didn't get it on reading it, then we knew that it probably wasn't that clear. Our meetings were open-ended. We brought snacks for sharing and usually spent around 2 hours each time. It was a very encouraging group for me.

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could you tell me about it?

How often do you meet?

Do you have a set agenda?

What are the guidelines and protocol for the group?

anything else you want to share?


I recently moved away from my group. We were much more informal and casual than Happy's group. We were a group of 4-6 people that started as a Nanowrimo group. We didn't met at set times except during November and June when we participated in WriDaNoJu (similar to Nanowrimo, but smaller). We ended up getting together at least 1-2 per month anyway.


Two of the members are getting ready to start a ultra-small publishing company specializing in short stories. They did a test run a few years ago, right before I met them, but they had some small success.


I hope to find a few individuals in our new area to create another IRL group, possibly more formal.

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Thank-you, thank-you!

I went to a writer's seminar on Saturday and we are going to try to start a Writer's Group but none of us has been in one before. The gal that ran the seminar has a small publishing house a state away. Her stuff was really helpful, but my brain is soo full with thoughts and how to organize it all and how to homeschool and how to share the computer, etc.

I'll print what you all have shared and take it to our first meeting!!


One last question- do you all write mainly fiction, memoirs? What genre.

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I joined my local Writer's Guild a few months ago. There are about 15 of us who meet once a month. There are officers (president, VP, secretary/treasurer) but it's pretty informal. Each month's meeting is a different topic from a local writer - one month was about plotting a novel, one month we all read aloud, another month we talked about critique groups.


About half of them also belong to a Critique group that meets twice a month (so 3 meetings total). I haven't gone to one of those meetings yet, but hear they are great.


I also recently started another group that meets every Saturday to go through The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. All 7 of us in the group are also members of the Writer's Guild so it's kind of an offshoot of that group. But it is specifically about unblocking our creativity in all sorts of forms (not just writing).


The people in our group write ALL sorts of stuff. The published authors have books of poetry, memoirs, fiction for women, children's books, and non-fiction topics. A couple of us also write screenplays. We're all across the board when it comes to interests, which makes it really fun and interesting when you get us all together. :)

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