The Writers Group: Develop your craft and skill

Writing is an alone life.  You tell a friend, “My scene’s not working.”  His face is blank.  Not an ounce of sympathy. She already thinks you’re crazy to be pursuing a writing career.

At a good writers group your fellow writers will listen to the scene and give you feedback.  You are free to take or leave any suggestions.  If you are fortunate you may have a person in your group who hears the sounds of your phrases as well—the repetitive vowels, the hard sounds, the sibilants—and whether there are too many, too few, or just enough.

You will hear stories in a variety of voices, tones and styles.  You will hear various points of view.  These are great ways to double check what works in your story.  Do you have the correct tone for a thriller?  For a mystery?  Do you know the difference?  You will hear the differences.

You will also hear comments that make you wonder if the individual has heard the passage just read.  They will be completely off the mark.  Instead of being offended, you can tilt your head to the side, smile and say you will think about the comment.  This is a test of your knowledge of story craft and writing skill.  If you have a solid base you will recognize these comments immediately.

You will have an opportunity to hear your work read by somebody else.  I highly recommend this as a way to hear the uneven parts, or word sequences, that make sense to you but get garbled or lost by another person.

You will find many instances to recognize the good parts of your story, the places that need tweaking, and your knowledge of story craft and writing skill.

In addition, you will make friends.

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