Monday, December 19, 2011

Writing Groups

I wonder how many of you writers have a writing group, and if they do your writing any good. It may be that I'm approaching expert status on this, as I've had lots, both online and face to face ones.

All of my online groups have been through my Sisters in Crime Guppies chapter. And some have been for novels and some for short stories. I've had multiples of both kinds. They've all been at least helpful and some have been excellent. It seems that people come and go though, and they last a certain amount of time, then peter out. I can honestly say that my writing is much, much better for those groups.

My face to face groups are, of course, lots more fun, since we're actually physically there and can chat and even eat and drink together--always a plus. The two that I'm in right now are very different, though. In one, we submit a chapter, or about ten pages, by email a few days before our meeting. We print out the pages, critique them on paper, then get together to go over our individual critiques and discuss the finer points. Opinions vary, of course, and not all advice is taken by each writer. That would be a mess!

My other face to face group doesn't critique at all, unless one of us requests it. Our usual meeting is to chat a bit, then do at least one timed writing on our laptops or on paper, from a writing prompt. We then can choose whether or not to read what we've come up with to each other and can ask for suggestions if we wish.

For both of these groups, also, members come and go, but these groups have kept going for years. I get different things from each group I belong to, online and ftf. I'm not one of those writers who doesn't want any critiques! It's like free editing. It's also informative to see what other writers are doing and we learn from each other.

It's the second live group that put out the latest short story anthology, ALL THINGS DARK AND DASTARDLY, so our meetings lately are geared toward the book. But I'm sure we'll get back to writing soon.

Long live critters and writing groups!


  1. I only belong to one in person writers group and have been in the same one since 1981. Over the years I've learned more from my critique group than from anything else I've done. Of course members have come and gone, but I consider them my first editors. We drink tea and read our work and give critiques.

  2. Sounds nice, Marilyn. Do you meet in homes? I forgot to mention that my two groups meet in a book store and a restaurant.

  3. Kaye, I belong to a strict, regimented face-to-face group. It's been in operation for over 20 years, with a founder/leader who makes and keeps rules. We meet in his home. We send submissions by email two weeks before our meeting. We print out and red pencil comments, then do a one (typed) page overview of criticisms and suggestions. I work well within a format, so this is perfect for me. We are tough critiquers but it's all for the same purpose--to be helpful.

    I would love to have a second group, as you do, that's more social. But given the choice, I'll stick with the above, as they've been a true aid to my writing.

  4. I'm not sure I'd like your strict group. But what's good is that we've found groups that suit us. Everyone's different--and that's a very good thing.

  5. I've been part of an online group and really enjoyed it. However, I like our group, Kaye because of the face time.

  6. I agree. I'd hate to be without the live groups.