D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Writing Buddies (IWSG)

I have mentioned that with this year's move, I have been able to make some great changes, and that it has helped revitalize me to do good things. While this has manifested with improvement in health and work, I have only begun to really pounce on the opportunity to make improvements in my writing life. One of my prospects has been to find a writing group. Back in the day, I used to have a couple friends that I shared my work and exchanged critiques with. Over time I grew apart from both friends for different reasons, and since then my only beta-reader is Wombat. He does a fantastic job, but he ain't a writer. 

So, I decided once arriving in Austin I'd take a look and see what kind of groups are out there. Two landed on my radar that were close enough that I might have a chance of becoming a part of - but... then it turns out that one only invites five members of a time to meet and they do I think, like, chapter critiques. Booked out for a few weeks to. Well, that's not exactly what I'm looking for. Unfortunately the approach I've been taking with my book, means that I can't really bring in my work on a chapter by chapter basis. It won't be ready for that until I'm working on my second draft and I'm still on the rough. So I began thinking - maybe I can't join a group yet. Is this what all groups are for?

About then, I took a look at the second group. It was more of a writer's guild. They'd have guest speakers occasionally... but I can't tell what else they do. 

Needless to say, I suddenly felt far from secure about stepping out into the writer's world after all. So I turn to you loverly writers. Are you a part of a group? How do you function? Has it been beneficial? What would be your recommendation? 


I have the same problem. There are very few writing groups where I live. The ones I've found are pretty well established and hard to knuckle my way into.

I joined a website called Scribophile a few years back. It's an online critique site and you can join for free. Free membership allows you to post two works at a time for critique and gives you full access to the website forums, where you can make all sorts of connections. It's a bit like facebook for writers.

There also meetup.com. If you've already tried that and come up with a zero, I might suggest trying to start a group of you own. That way you could tailor it to your needs, and hopefully attract the sort of people you want around.
I found a writing group through Nanowrimo and they meet once a month or so throughout the year. They're a fun group but they write a lot of short stories and I need chapter by chapter critiques because I'm on the third draft of my novel.
One of them, though, is a novelist like me. :) So we've been meeting once in a while, and critique each other's stuff on Critique Circle. Having someone who is a little bit ahead of me on the writing learning curve has been invaluable, and we balance each other out, she's practical, I'm a dreamer. :)
I also 'meet' some phenomenal writers through my blog, believe it or not! I've exchanged whole book critiques with a few writers already, and I've learned so much by doing that. If you see someone's writing that you admire, don't be afraid to ask. They might just be looking for someone to read their work in exchange for reading yours.

And, I have to ask: Who is Wombat? ;)
I had similar problems with in-person groups.

What works for me is on-line (via email) critique partners. We usually swap a chapter or two at a time via Word document attachment. We make notes using TrackChanges, then swap back.

One benefit of this is we can 'meet' and 'swap' when it's convenient for us. And we're not restricted by geographical location. I've had crit partners all over the US.

When meeting someone new, I do a test swap or two to see if we're compatible. If we both agree, then we discuss our terms in earnest (how much, how often, the kind of feedback we're looking for, etc.). No money changes hands. It's word count for word count and crit for crit. ;)

Good luck.
IWSG# 123, until Alex culls the list again. :)
PS - A nice benefit to crit partners from other states is that they can catch regional/dialectic stuff that folks in your area might not realize sounds odd to those in another area of the country. You might decide to keep the line or passage anyway, but at least you'll know. ;)
Well, I sort of consider the blogging community a writing group. I've met all my critique partners through my blog. I'm also a member of my local Colorado writing group, though I don't do the in-person critique group stuff, just the annual conference and a few workshops offered during the year. Austin should be full of writers groups I would think. I hope you find what you're looking for.

And welcome back!

I've never belonged to an in-person group and really don't want to. Having online writer friends and groups like IWSG is good enough for me. :)

IWSG co-host
Laura Eno – A Shift in Dimensions
Be yourself and trust your instincts.
You're back! :D I live in France and would love to be a part of a writers group. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen for me. I've heard some folks talk about on-line writing groups that have been very helpful. That could be a good alternative.
I'm not part of a group. My mind goes blank when I'm put on the spot. Doesn't work for me. But I have great critique partners and beta readers. =)
I absolutely LOVED being in a writing group! Since I moved from Houston, I haven't found a permanent place in another one yet... but in Houston, my group was FABULOUS! If I ever get published someday, I'm quite certain their love, support and merciless critiques will be the sole reason for my success.

Good luck with finding your group!!

P.s. I'm back to blogging again! YAY! I took a momentary hiatus for a little first trimester gross-ness. Looking forward to reading more of your posts now ( :

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