Friday, August 28, 2009

Writers Groups

How much do writers groups really help?
Do they offer valuable feedback?
How do you find a good quality group that you can trust?
Is it better to have one online or find a group that meets physically near you?
What if your group is made up of inexperienced writers and all of you are terrible and you never realize it?

These questions plague me.

I know that almost every person we have heard from on the Internet, whether recently published or not, has said that their writer's group was a valuable asset to publication and becoming a stronger writer.

This is a subject that I know very little about so please comment on whatever experience or information that you have!


  1. I want to know, too! I've been looking for good critique partners, and I'm nervous. Published authors always say how important these groups are, but they also say to be very careful in choosing. Leave if it isn't working, and so on.

    This is tough. And it makes me nervous. But I think online or local would work well. You just need to find someone similar to you.

    Check out Maggie Steifvater's blog on finding critique partners. She just wrote about this and I might try her method...

  2. We set up a writing group after taking a series of evening classes in Writing for Children, we pay the tutor of the classes to be our leader. We review each other's work, and sometimes do writing exercises - but there's a lot of chatting/mutual support as well - it's as much a writers' support group as an actual writing group. We live all over LOndon so we hire a room in a library in central London and we meet for two hours every fortnight (not in school holidays).
    Some of us write a lot, some very little, some are published others not. Some are writing for children, other's are concentrating on tv projects, poetry or other work. We've added two members since we began, which was a little strange, but has worked out fine. Having our tutor as faciliatator has been absolutely essential - she sets the tone for constructive criticism. It can be a little awkward if you feel very critical of someone's work, but we're all good at being positive yet honest, and it's great when you see suggestions work out.
    I love having people to talk to who are reading my work in progress, know the characters and can give feedback. I'm not good at working in a vacuum, and I'm used to taking criticism. I also really enjoy reading other people's work. But I can imagine it wouldn't be a great experience to be in the wrong group with the wrong people.

  3. There are some groups that meet at our library on certain nights. I need to attend...Just haven't yet. I'm eager to hear others comments on this one. I did sign up for the workshop in San Fran. with Nathan.

  4. I think its critical that we have people read our work and give us good impartial advice.

  5. Are there any online communities that y'all may know of? I want to find a good group of people in my city and online. These were some good questions. How often do you recommend that people meet?

  6. Regina,

    Tess from the NWHRWA told me that the RWA (Romance Writers Of America) have some online groups.

    Marsha--I have a critique partner and we email back and forth chapter by chapter. We had a trial run with Chapter 1 and talked about how we like to be critiqued. Turns out, we're similar in our tastes of what we want. You might look around at some of the organizations like RWA and see if they have a local chapter near you (if you write romance) there's other organizations too. If you pick up the 4th edition of "The Idiot's Guide To Publishing" they have some information on organizations, but make sure the links are up to date because the 4th edition was copyrighted in 2006--I don't think they have a new one out, yet.

    I'm going to my first NWHRWA meeting on September 5th. I'll know more after that.

  7. Thanks all of you for the tips.
    Bethany, I don't write romance but I am going to check out some organizations online and see that they offer.


It helps to know I'm not just talking to myself.