1. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Writers Groups

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Dunning Kruger, May 26, 2015.

    There's a writers group not too far from where I live that I found on meetup.com. I was thinking of joining them. Having never been a part of one, what is are reasonable expectations for the experience, both from me and from the group?
     
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  2. Masked Mole
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    Masked Mole Contributing Member

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    They will all loathe you. :)
    Just kidding, of course. From what I've heard from others, they can be hit or miss. Some people love the meetings dearly, and make life-long friends. Other times, groups like that can be a little stuck-up or arrogant. I would say give it a whirl. If you don't like it, you don't have to ever go again. If you enjoy it, it can be something fun to look forward to all the time. I don't know if you might have to pay a membership fee or not. If you do, that's a different story.
    I don't have personal experience with formal groups though, so you might take my comments with a grain of salt.
    If you like it, I'm sure we'd all be interested to hear about it. I hope it goes well for you.
     
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  3. Gloria Sythe
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    Gloria Sythe Member

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    Writers groups can be a fantastic resource for those who are looking for advice from experienced writers. I belong to a group in BC that has been nothing but a Godsend for my confidence and not being afraid to let the real writers hear and read my work. We even have an English professor who holds a doctorate in history. He teaches at Oxford University in England and is a Fellow at Cambridge University for their distant learning courses. He lives in BC during the summer and part of the fall. At first I was terrified to let him see my writing; however, with a some encouragement (almost forced in fact) I gave this fellow one of my short stories. After his approval along with a couple of suggestions my writing confidence sky rocketed.

    I have heard that some groups are make up of people who just like to write instead of actual writers. I am not sure if these types of groups can offer much in the way of expertise when giving advice about writing. Our group has two journalists, three to five members who have books already published and several who drop in according to the topic of each meeting.

    So, find out what the group has to offer, are there published writers in the group and is there anyone who can do honest critiquing with your English and writing skills.
     
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  4. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah - try it and see if you like it is the best advice.

    The only warning is go in knowing that people may say things about your work that offend you - and if you're not ready for that, go the first week as a spectator only.

    The group I go to is awesome, and I have great friends there, but it can also be brutal. It's brutal on purpose because we're all looking to get better. We do our best not to be NEEDLESSLY brutal, and if we like things we love them, but if something is wrong we're not going to hide it, because we want people to succeed with their projects rather than just feel good. And writing group culture does tend toward emphasis of constructive criticism. Some people don't like that, and people who get really vocally defensive and fight with critics tend to leave - but we're all there because we're looking to get better through cooperation, and criticism is an act of love.

    So that's the only thing I have - don't be afraid to bring stuff, because if it's a critique group it's important to get over the hump of the first critique. But be prepared beforehand that the goal is to improve, and that your work WILL be criticized (because that's the purpose). You don't have to accept every critique - but it's important to hear them. I have one guy in my group who flat-out rejects large portions of my worldview and premise - like him as a person but I've learned to tune him out on that aspect because his disagreements are philosophical not craft-based.

    Go - feel it out - see if you like it.
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    The group I go to is awesome as well. So much so I'm going to be putting the leader's name on my dedication page: "Thanks to Andrew Rosenberg who taught me how to write."

    But I tried multiple other groups with mixed results. It depends entirely on the skills of your fellow critiquers. Stick it out for a few times before you decide because members come and go and are not there every week.
     
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  6. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    Why not go along with an open mind?

    You are so lucky to have a writing group near you. I say go to a few meetings to give the group a chance. ooooh I'm so envious :D
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2015
  7. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    I will go with an open mind. I am asking more to know what to expect. It's like the first day of school. You want to know if the teacher is going to call on you etc.

    Well, I live in a suburb of Los Angeles. There are a lot of writers nearby. Whether they are writing anything that I am interested reading remains to be seen...
     
  8. Woof
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    Woof Contributing Member

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    It's really hard to call, without knowing the people. Some groups are really informal and just chat and admire each other's work, and some are really formal where you have to submit what you're bringing beforehand for review. If you have a contact available, you're best off getting in touch just to ask if you need to bring/do anything or just show up. If not, I'd say take something short that you're confident you can discuss and be prepared to offer some constructive feedback, that's all. Try to have a think about what you want from a writing group as well before you go.
     
  9. ladybird
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    ladybird Contributing Member

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    I know. :D I should imagine writing groups vary.

    My writing group experience:

    Like school we were always given homework. Our group centred round writing a 500 word story to include certain words then reading it aloud at the next meeting. We were also expected to write a short story in ten minutes during the meeting which again we read aloud while others offered feedback. I found the woman who ran the group to be a self-opinionated bitch - she reduced some people to tears, demotivated others and some like me voted with their feet. I now regret pulling out because some of the people were really nice. At the time I was rather shy and was too nervous to ask her to expand on her critique. I ahve a different mindset now and tough crit is more useful to a writer than silken words of praise.
     
  10. Dunning Kruger
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    Dunning Kruger Active Member

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    Thanks to everyone for sharing their experiences. We'll see how it goes...
     

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