Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Writer's Group

You've probably heard about them, you might be in one, or you might know someone in one. And some of you make think they're awesome and others have no clue. For those who aren't writers the problems and sufferings that we go through to actually write a page are nothing. So joining a writer's group can be a good thing because you are talking with people who understand what you're going through.

But what if you're not sure about joining one or maybe you're just interested in what one does at these meetings.

For me, I joined my local writer's group last fall and I've only been able to come to maybe five meetings. But that's cause we meet on the third Saturday of every month from 10:00 am to 11:30 am. And frankly, most of the time, my third Saturdays are busy. Now not every writers group will meet once a month, some do it once a week, or whenever. It really all depends.

My writer's group happens to be filled with people who write anything genre and everything imaginable. They also come in all ages (to say the least, I'm the youngest person there; everyone else is 40 or older except for the kid who helps run it). Some groups are devoted to a certain genre (like mystery) and others are like mine. We write everything. One lady writes screenplays, another write memoirs, some science fiction, etc.

I'm not sure what people do in different groups, but I'll tell you what we do in mine. At the beginning, if you're there by 10, we start out with a writing exercise and then while that is going on we find our name cards out of the slush pile. Sometimes we have food and other times we don't (once there was scones and I spent most of the time nibbling on them). Then afterwards we introduce ourselves (we get new people everytime) and then introduce our guest speaker. After the guest speaker is done talking (which is usually an hour) and afterwards we talk about stuff concerning the group (last time we were talking about whether or not we wanted a website).

Our guest speakers are always different and sometimes interesting. (I'll admit sometimes I get bored). One time we had this screen writer come talk to us (Nat Colley), another time it was a memoir author, and we've had this author named Laurel Means (who kindly offered to take a look at one of my stories). Once we had a guy talk to us about his science fiction story (something about robots I think?) and he brought in this outfit he made out of tin foil and cardboard (he made a robot suit for himself to help him in get into the mood). To say the least that one was interesting...

Now I know that in other groups you're get help on stories and we kinda do that but not much. If we want to share our work we can bring in two pages, double spaced and print out copies. And if you're lucky there might be a writers group near you or if there isn't, try starting one. You'd be surprised how many kids actually write at your school but never say (at mine there's about six kids that I know of. Other kids don't take my writing seriously. I told one of the freshmen last year the word count of the book I was working on then and when I said 62k she did a double take).

Sometimes we pass out sheets at my group. Like one time it was a sheet about commenting (I shared it with you last week) and a couple of times we've gotten sheets about dialogue, beginnings, etc. Once there was a handout about useful/interesting books for authors (or readers). And we usually have a book or magazine about writing on the table (Writer's Digest usually).

And sometimes we talk about random things (before and after the speaker is done). If you're not a writer or you don't know someone who is I'm going to tell you this now: writers are really interesting people. We'll talk about everything under the sun for hours and sometimes we care really deeply about our characters. Anyways, one time we all were talking about texting while driving and seat belts. Nothing to do with writing at all, but hey, it was interesting.

Well basically, I hope you've gotten an idea about what a writer's group is like from all my rambling. Personally, I enjoy them and if there's one in your area I recommend going to it. But remember that not all writing groups are for everyone, it's great to find one that fits best for you.

Random Time (Where I basically promote stuff for the authors I've met but hopefully entertain you). 
Nat Colley (Screenplay writer). Note: This video has some issues that some of you may find controversial. If it bothers you or whatever don't watch it. And if you must state your opinion about the following, please don't cause any fights. Thanks! (By the way, I don't support abortions at all.)
Part One
Part Two

Laurel Means 
Wagon Trail to Nowhere

Runes Beyond the Edge

So, are you in a writer's group or do you plan on joining one? If you are in one, what's it like?


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