I'm at a point where I would love to find a face to face or online critique group. Online scares me a bit, because how do you know who you are getting involved with? I guess face to face could pose the same problem, but meeting in public places feels safer.
I've tried to email some writer's groups that I found in my city online, but received no response after two weeks. I'm getting frustrated. Any advice? Am I just too impatient?
No clue. I've tried to find some, but haven't been able to. Either I've been too busy to dedicate myself, or I haven't found any that share my goals, or that are at a writing level where I feel I could benefit from their feedback.
I understand the trepidation of the online thing... But that is what I use Hatrack for. It has totally new people and very experienced people. One of my goals is to start an online group, mainly recruiting from this site, with a half dozen people who are dedicated to the following stringent criteria as goals:
1) Finish a sci-fi/fantasy novel within 1 year. 2) Actually do it. 3) Make it good enough to get the thing published. 4) Do so by "meeting" online at least once per week by email or chat session.
Then, regardless of what level each person in the group was at, we'd all help each other get there. But, since I am not ready to start yet (I'm planning on hitting the ropes in July), I haven't done so yet. I'd be asking more from the members of the group than I am willing to dedicate myself.
But I've found the feedback from Hatrack so helpful, I really don't think there is any additional benefit to meeting in person... But then, I've never been in a good group, so I may be blind in this regard...
[This message has been edited by Teraen (edited March 22, 2010).]
You could try Meetup. It is one of those social sites that works to connect people for local face-to-face meetings. Just go to their homepage, type in the kind of group you want and your zip code and it will tell you if there are any interested people in your area.
I am in the process of trying to set up a group like that right now. While there is a fairly large writers group in my area they cover fiction, non-fiction and poetry. I'd rather have three or four people who also write SF/F. I value the feedback I've gotten here on Hatrack, but a local group would help motivate me to write more - if only to avoid having to admit publicly that I slacked off any particular week.
quote:I've tried to email some writer's groups that I found in my city online, but received no response after two weeks. I'm getting frustrated. Any advice? Am I just too impatient?
Email again. If you have the ability, use another email account, and make sure your subject line is specific "writer's group meeting in xxx location?" or something. Not "Hi" or anything too generic, which some spam filters pitch.
As someone who's email addy is out there in the public for this kind of thing (not for a writer's group, but still...) I can tell you with 100% honesty that sometimes we just miss the emails. They fall below the scroll line, we meant to get back but forgot, we didn't even notice because it was sandwiched in between a bunch of Old Navy ad emails, etc. Just send another message and see if you can also find a phone number to call (and if more than 48 hrs go by without a return phone call, just call again. Keep your messages brief and polite. Always assume the best on the part of the other - meaning "Just calling because I think my last message may not have gone through..." or "Checking to see if anyone could tell me about the next meeting, would appreciate a call back, thanks so much!" etc.)
You might also try nanowrimo.org and see if there are any active nano communities in your area. even if not, if you can find the names/emails of the community leads for your nano area, you might be able to find out if there are other writer's groups going on.
Don't forget to check the local bookstores and libraries. My in-person writer's group meets at a barnes and noble. There's also one at my in-town library.
I know you said you're wary of online critique groups, but I've had fantastic experience with www.critiquecircle.com for my novel. You have to give critiques to earn credits to post your own stories (or novel chapters) and the level of detail you get back is usually pretty good. You might consider checking it out, in case it suits your needs.
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With webcams and mics being pretty standard now, I think you can have a face to face met anywhere. Just post a yahoo messenger writing group meet, create a private room on messenger, invite those who respond, and have a normal discussion to see if it's a good group. you can always disband it and start fresh. Since you're the creator of the room, you can always get rid of someone who is a pain - (or if you're nonconfrontational, just create a new room and only invite back those who do a good job or are polite etc... But it's better to let someone know why they are not invited back.)
If you're worried about people stealing ideas...i dunno if there's ever not a risk.
Thanks! There are some great ideas in here. I have enjoyed this forum and in the short 3 months I've been here it has improved my writing. I just feel guilty about my sporadic posting. I read stuff all the time, but don't always feel I have anything to add to what has already been said. I'm trying to comment more so I can get to know people.
I still keep in touch with a few of the nanoers from last year (I was actually the ML), but most of them are so busy with work or school we don't get together. Since I'm a stay at home mom I think about my book all day--I have distractions but they come along in short bursts, most of which I have learned to tune out.
I'll check out meetup and critiquecircle as well as my library. I hang out there all the time anyway.
I opened a free dimdim.com account, which is an online conference room with shared whiteboard feature. (writerevisepublish--my room name)It also has webcam and mic capabilities, but I don't know if that is the paid version or not. My hope is to find a few people serious about using the time to improve our writing. Teraen, want to join? I have a few people who follow my blog that are interested as well. The hard part will be picking days and times.
I have a completed ms that has been through three revisions. My friends have asked great questions and pointed out plot holes and generally been a help. Now, I need another writer to look at it and catch what they might have missed. I laugh and say, "My first 13 are awesome, it falls apart from there." Not really, but there are weak sections that still need tightening.
quote:I have a completed ms that has been through three revisions. My friends have asked great questions and pointed out plot holes and generally been a help. Now, I need another writer to look at it and catch what they might have missed. I laugh and say, "My first 13 are awesome, it falls apart from there." Not really, but there are weak sections that still need tightening.
Why don't you try joining the Novel Support Group (NSG) here (under Hatrack Groups)? You can ask for a chapter exchange there. It sometimes takes a couple of weeks to find someone ready to exchange chapters, but I've had several very profitable chapter exchanges.
Nothing wrong with the other ideas, either, of course, but they're not mutually exclusive.
Charity, I am another stay at home mom so free time during the day but I live pretty far from you (Texas). I have a novel that I have done one pretty extensive rewrite on (almost complete- 2 chapters left). I would be interested in an online group.
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