Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wednesday Writerly Things

Hey bloggy friends. I've had scant little time to visit you lately because I'm in edit mode. As soon as I finish up the current project, I'll be back on my regular rounds. Until then, how's your writing, NaNo word count and/or current WIP project going?

Have you heard Deb Schubert's good news? Geaux Schube!!


Looking for an online crit group? Lynette sends you this message: Lynnette Labelle at Chatterbox Chit Chat  is doing a little matchmaking for writers. If you’re looking for a critique group or partner, head over to her blog for details.


Speaking of writing/critique groups, I'll leave you with an article I wrote on the subject~~

[And Jessica Faust with BookEnds Literary Agency posted on the crit group topic today also. Must be something in the air!]

Writing Group Wizardry

Get the Lead Out

Too busy to commit to a writing group? Don’t need to join because you’re already published? Think devoting time to critiquing others’ work is crazy when you have your own projects to craft? Think again. Writing groups have lots to offer, especially if you start and moderate one yourself.
 The key to finding or founding a successful group is establishing some ground rules at the outset. At the initial gathering of a few likeminded acquaintances, have everyone write an unedited synopsis about what they imagine as the perfect writing group. Include expectations, meeting dates and times, goals, benefits of membership, group size, meeting location, whether or not to include speakers and/or timed writing exercises, genres covered, and specifics concerning the critiquing process.

Iron Out the Wrinkles

After you’ve compared notes and come to a consensus on how your group will work, start recruiting prospective members. If you plan to stay small, it won’t take much effort. Posting notices in local coffee houses, college campuses, libraries, and bookstore fliers should do the trick. Word of mouth will also help. The most successful writing groups start small and grow slowly, giving them the best survival rates and incubating healthy productivity.

It is imperative that you decide whether you will read your work aloud at meetings and then discuss, or submit work via email for written critiques to go over during meetings. The first few gatherings will be a bit longer as you iron out your process and learn to balance exercise work and critique time. Encourage members to touch upon only the highlights from their crit comments instead of every niggling suggestion they’ve made on the printed submissions. This will help meetings flow smoothly and efficiently.

Leaving time at the end for general discussion of problem areas and writing successes and failures is a good idea. You may also want to trim group time by sending marketing information by e-mail. Unless the location where you gather has time restrictions, leave time at the end for chat.

For a group of six to eight writers, plan on approximately two hours per meeting. This will vary if you plan to incorporate speakers, small workshops, or timed impromptu writing exercises that exceed 30 minutes.
 Bookstores are usually a nice place to gather, as coffee is available and the hours are conducive to day or night meetings. Store managers are normally more than happy to host and/or advertise for your group.

Cyber Support

If joining a live group isn’t possible, consider one online. A larger search engine will bring up a good list of possibilities from which to choose. Concentrate on long-standing and national organizations that include critique and discussion groups such as the National Association of Women Writers. Seek groups that focus on your preferred genre and experience level.

Check membership benefits, requirements, e-mail load, and endorsements. Beware of groups that load up your e-box with tons of unwanted mail. Cyber groups offer busy writers the convenience of working around packed schedules. They also allow you the ability to try on several types before deciding which is best suited to your needs, goals, and skill level.

From the Horses’ Mouths

Don’t just take my word on the bountiful benefits of writing groups. Fellow writers lend their two cents on the subject:

"Being in a group has helped me learn what works and doesn't work. When I see something that doesn't work in someone else’s piece and it is something I also do, then I can hone in on it in my own work. Of course, it helps when others read your work in the same objective and perceptive way and catch things that you don't. They can say, 'This dialogue doesn’t sound natural,' and all of a sudden you see it. You become much more alert to what works and what doesn't. It also sets a fire under my arse to write more, as I don’t want to be left behind when I see others achieving their goals!" ~ KM, writer, editor, novelist

"The critiquing process has taught me to be a better editor, as the discussions are enlightening and thought provoking. Meeting in person has also helped me conquer my fear of speaking to an audience. Something I’ve long suspected has been proven; writers who make time to write every day are more successful than those who don’t. I love the networking and job ops we share in our group. I’ve enlarged my writing dreams by virtue of my membership, and there’s no greater thrill than sharing successes with others in this thing called writing." ~ AB, author, freelance writer, poet

"In terms of honing the craft, critiquing helps me step back and review my work objectively; using a discerning eye. There is camaraderie regardless of sex, color, lifestyle, background, and religious beliefs that unite us under one idea – that we want nothing more than to write it down. My life is more whole by knowing these people, and I’ve found that ideas come into my head faster than I can get them down sometimes. The support and kinship has been instrumental in making me realize that I am a writer, that I’m not crazy." ~ KF, writer

"My writing group forces me to oust the characters living in my head and to get them down on paper coherently." ~ ML, writer 


DebraLSchubert said...

Thanks for the shout-out, my friend. And thanks for your support over this past year. It's been (and continues to be) a highlight for me. ;-)

Jill Kemerer said...

Have fun editing! Hope it gets wrapped up soon. I think critique groups are an amazing resource. Thanks for highlighting this topic!

Jody Hedlund said...

Congrats Debra! And don't worry about making the blogging rounds, Angie! I can totally relate because we're in the same boat with the edits!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Happy editing!! May they go smoothly for you.

And I'm all for critique groups, so glad I have mine!

Lynnette Labelle said...

Funny how everyone's writing about critique groups. Thanks for the link and for telling us about Debra. I hadn't heard yet. Wow! What a story she has about acquiring that agent.

Hope your editing goes well.

Lynnette Labelle

Angie Ledbetter said...

Schube - Couldn't be happier about your agent-snagging! Agree on the cool writing/support community here. THE best.

My pleasure Jill.

Jody - Love editing. The ms I'm eyeballing for this author is EASY fun "work." :D

Eileen - Thanks, and yes, a real boon and blessing if you join/start just the right one. :)

Melissa Marsh said...

Ahhhh...editing! So much fun!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leading me back to Gumbo Writer. I love the way you mix writerly topics with food (certainly goes together in my mind, especially the yummy looking soups).

As for critique groups, I would never want to give up Raintree Writers. Check us out at

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Thanks for critique group info. Already signed up with Lynnette!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Great info on crit groups. I wuv mine. :)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Lynnette - Yeah, seems to be the buzz lately. :)

Yes ma'am Lynette. Love it!

Patricia - Thanks for visiting. Your writing group does look good from the site.

And, yes, my three favorite bloggy topics are writing, food and humor...sorta like in real life. :D

Donna - You're welcome!

Ditto Jennifer.

Terri Tiffany said...

Good information:) I love my critique group and happy I have one!

Elizabeth Bradley said...

What a great post. Thanks, good luck with the editing.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks Terri and Elizabeth. Hope you're both doing well with your writing, and Elizabeth, with you flu battle.

Marguerite said...

Great topic and post! Nothing like an objective critique! Good luck with the editing, sha!

Debbie said...

I just love how you always support your friends! You are a true friend Angie.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Great advice. My crit group is the single best thing I've done for my writing. They're awesome.

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