This page is dedicated to my writing group. It has been led by Vernon Fueston who recommended we all create a blog. Vernon is a crafter of wonderful stories, the former editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, and is pursuing an MFA. The reason I have a blog is that I chose to take his suggestion seriously. Since then I have learned a lot about creating “social platforms.” Vernon was right about this, especially as a learning process.
Writers Groups provide safe places to take works in progress and have them fine-tuned before you launch them into the world. Good writing takes a lot of thought, a lot of insight…and a lot of editing. Not only do the members of my group pick up on grammatical missteps, but they help me see my work through others’ eyes. They reveal places where my meanings are not clear, or my “embedded” subtle hints are actually obscure to anyone other than me! (I have tried to follow the suggestions of Stephen King in On Writing that readers get to the twists or mini-climatic moments and think both “wow” and “of course” because they have had lots of hints of what was coming but are surprised at the same time.)
Finally a Writers’ Group gives you insight into an author’s voice, as you read other works in process and help with observations. And in learning how others express an authentic cohesive tone, it becomes easier to hear and see your own.
I am unendingly grateful to Ted, Roberta, Sylvia, Leslie, Frank, Gwen, Paula, and Mike from the first incarnation of our group, and to the members of our reorganized group, Mike, Chris, Kate, Mary, Dossey, Barbara, and Paula, to the OBX group, and to all the wordsmiths who have encouraged me. And of course, to Vernon!
Find a group…you’ll be glad you did.
- educational wordsmith (zaraawritingstory.wordpress.com)
- Am I any good? (joehinojosa.wordpress.com)
Is your writer’s group a closed group? do you permit new and interested folk to “join” ?
We are small with a core group and a larger of those who more occasionally attend. We are an Open group and always welcome new voices, new writing. I think when someone new comes it takes a bit more work, but adds more than it takes. But that may also be because we are small. (I live in a more rural area near the coast.) If we were larger the reading/critique might get more onerous. We meet for an hour and a half and usually have 2-3 present – up to 10 pages at a time. (Tonight is actually a Wordsmiths’ night.) We meet twice a month. I hope you can find a group…though I have often wondered for those on-line if there couldn’t be a “virtual” group.
Yes, Joanne, I agree with your suggestion that it is very helpful to be part of a writing group! I speak from experience, having worked pretty much by myself for eight years. During most of that time, I was delving into the 18th century to uncover details about a gentleman who would have been my neighbor, except for a two hundred year gap in time. He happened to serve in the North Carolina Brigade during the American Revolution, something that piqued my interest enough to send me to battlefields from Quebec, to New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts,Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, AND to his family links in England and St. Kitts. I also spent more than a little time in the 17th and 19th centuries as well, gathering additional background I needed. I acquired a library of books on the war and the 18th century, which I have read and reread. I say all this to emphasize that I made a huge effort to prepare myself to write. As I built a vast research file, I found time to write the story as nonfiction. That writing (more than enough for a novel) was really an exercise, like going to a dress shop and trying on clothes. It can be entertaining for a while, but if one doesn’t find that perfect thing, it can be very frustrating. How could I take facts and dates and create an interesting story that might attract readers? I found my answer soon after I joined the OBX group, (my first) when David suggested I try writing fiction. At first, it seemed like heresy to make the switch, but I persisted (after all, I WAS NOT satisfied with the nonfiction) and with encouragement and feedback from the group, I soon found I could escape the trap I had made all by myself. My previous writing exercises were not in vain, and have fueled my current work and made it easier.. By the time I met you, Joanne, I was working on a fourth chapter as historical fiction. This genre feels like home. If I could have a “do-over,” I would find a group much sooner! I cannot emphasize enough how I have benefited from being part of a community of writers. Joining Wordsmiths Writers has enhanced the experience!
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