Sunday, December 03, 2006

Writer's Group is a check-in

Posted by Lisa

The Boston Globe recently had a piece on a local writer. She hit it big with her first novel. The second was a struggle. The story in the paper described how she ultimately hit her stride when she joined a writer's group. She described her meeting as a weekly check-in. Essentially, letting her know if her writing was working or not.

It is the same for me. We meet twice monthly, two of us share pages every other week; we e-mail twenty or so in advance. When each of us get to writer's group, the others have had a chance to read it. When we meet, the writer goes "in the box": that means no talking as others discuss the writing's strengths and weaknesses. In general, we speak fifteen to twenty minutes. Positive feedback is balanced with constructive criticism and suggestions.

And, it works. At least our writing has shown improvement over the past many months. How many times, I wonder, have I toiled over one aspect of the pages I submit. A plot element, a change in setting. But I don't ask questions. I let them share their thoughts. My writer's group tells me if a scene works or not; it is up to them to find the strengths and weaknesses.

Writer's group is a check-in. Oftentimes, a much-needed check-in. Though questions are welcome at the end.

No comments: