Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Wanna Get Grouped

Body update: Still sore.

Blog Update: I've devoted most of my attention to book publishing, but I know that some readers are aspiring magazine writers too. So don't be shy: if you have magazine questions, send 'em my way. (Of course, book questions are still welcome too! Just wanted to remind you about the magazine angle.)

Question of the day:

You mentioned joining an online writers group while working to finish TDLF. Was that for support, critiques or both? And was the experience worthwhile?

Let me put it this way: without my writers' group, I wouldn't be a soon-to-be published author. So yep, you could say that the experience was worthwhile. :) The group I joined was more for support: it was a smaller subset of a magazine writers group that I'm part of. There were numerous aspiring, but stalled, fiction writers among us, so someone had the brilliant idea of forming a fiction group...and a fiction challenge, of sorts. Basically, each week, we reported back to each other on our progress. Not only did this light a fire under my butt, it also made me feel accountable. I mean, I told these people I wanted to finish my book, how embarrassing if I didn't! AND, even more embarrassing, as I saw them posting their word counts for the week, I wondered why I couldn't match - or even beat - them.

This was actually for my first book - the one that didn't sell and that I'm currently overhauling. I've mentioned here that it's stalled, and I'm thrilled that my writers group has started a new challenge...it's just what I need to motivate. I'll probably aim for about 1k words a day once I dive back in. Every Monday, I'll post my progress for the other members of the group, and we all feed off each other's success and influence. I'll also post my progress here, and you guys are welcome to do the same.

I wasn't one for joining a critique group - that's just not my style, but these groups have definitely worked for other writers I know. As we've previously discussed on the blog, often times, you just need a set of fresh eyes to point out where you've gone wrong and help redirect both you and the ms. And critique groups can provide that. Two that I've recently seen recommended are:

http://www.internetwritingworkshop.org/
http://www.thewritingbridge.org

I've never dealt with either of them, however. Just saw referrals to the sites from other writers.

What do you guys think? Are critique/support groups worthwhile? If so, where can a newbie writer sniff out a reputable group?


3 comments:

Amie Stuart said...

I started here: http://www.romancecritters.com/

Well it wasn't my first but it was one I stuck with for a long while. The two ladies who started it are RWA members, one local to me, and they used to run a pretty tight, friendly ship. It's broken into groups and after a while the membership in mine evolved to the point where I outgrew it. Now I have four crit partners I use at any given time. I trust my gut but it's nice to have a second pair of eyes sometimes, even if it's just to tell me to quit obsessing LOL.

larramie said...

Does anyone else agree that "fiction challenge" sounds better -- as well as more motivating -- than "internetwritingworkshop" or "thewritingbridge?" Please know, Allison, your suggestions were most welcome and more than I found; yet in checking them both out...well, they felt intimidating. (deep sigh) Perhaps it's just me, although I'm not one for joining a large critique group either.

Nevertheless that support and fresh pair of eyes are important. And the ideal situation was your experience of breaking off into a small group of writing friends you already knew.

I know there are a lot of other newbie writers lurking on this blog. For now, why don't we gratefully accept Allison's invitation to post our weekly progress? Through that simple exercise we'll make ourselves known to each other and perhaps -- down the road -- we might be comfortable and confident enough to form our own small group? Goodness knows this seems like the safest place to start.

Allison Winn Scotch said...

Amie-I agree: the gut is critical, but the second pair of eyes can be important when your gut is totally wrong. :)

Larr-check tomorrow's blog - I'm kicking off the writing challenge!