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The first rule about Writing Club is we do not talk about Writing Club.
The second rule about Writing Club is we DO talk to each other.
What am I wittering on about? Hang on, and I’ll explain.
I can finish a piece of writing; I can edit it, put it in a drawer for a week, take it back out and edit it again and again and at the end of this process I think it’s the best it can possibly be.
Except it isn’t.
We all get too close to our writing to be able to really see our mistakes and there is a plethora of self-published nonsense* out there proving my point. What these authors lacked, in my opinion, was a good editor – or an honest critique from a trusted friend.
I am incredibly lucky in having Jacky as my writing buddy. For years she has pointed out my grammatical glitches and punctuation problems and she has helped me fill in more plot holes than a navvy on double-time. But as good as she is, she is only one pair of eyes. What would it be like if two people read my work over? Or three? Or maybe even more?
And this was how Writing Club was formed.
We are a twelve-strong group of writers who each wants to improve his/her craft. We write in different genres, have been writing for different periods of time and are each at different stages of our work, but more than anything else we want to get better at what we do. We started out as a group of two who each invited some others we felt were open to honest critiquing and whom we could trust. These new members invited some others and we were soon at our group limit. We decided to keep the group ‘secret’ because we didn’t want it to become a free-for-all – large numbers make it harder to manage in practical terms – and, most importantly, we had to trust each other.
We ‘meet’ on Facebook for a topic based chat once or twice a week where as many members as can come and join in, and in-between times there is usually someone around to provide support or answer a question for you. Already we have tackled whether genre restricts us and what comes first, character or plot. Facebook allows you to set up a ‘secret’ group and has the facility to let you upload your work as a ‘Doc’ that can be read and critiqued by the group.
So while I can’t tell you the name of our group, and I can’t invite you to join, I do urge you to find your safe place and get honest, critical feedback from people you trust.
And the third rule of Writing Group? Why, bring cake, of course!
*Not all self-published books are nonsense but I think we all know of a few that are.
Are you part of a writing club? or group? What works for you?
(Editor’s note. Not all traditionally published books are good either, even if we know many that are!)
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Category: On Writing
Sites That Link to this Post
- Women Writers, Women Books | Clare Kirkpatrick | June 14, 2011