Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Writer's Groups

As you may all know I am the founder of a writer's group. We've been in formation for about 4 years. While I love my group I've been struggling with the following thought: do writer's groups work for novelists who are still in the writing process of an new or incomplete novel? When you submit for critiques before your MS is completed, are you then essentially writing by committee?

I know what I think about this notions, but I thought we could open up maybe an interesting topic for discussion here.

What do you think? Do writer's groups work for novelists who are not done writing their MS? Let's share...


Corey Schwartz said...

Hey, this doesn't answer your question, but... did you make it to the SCBWI conference last week? I meant to check in with you before I went, but things just got too crazy and I never got around to it.

Jean Wogaman said...

I prefer not to share first drafts. (Actually, I don't usually allow others to read my second drafts either.) I often don't see the theme(s) I'm exploring until I have a completed draft in front of me. I need to get to that heart of a story on my own. Getting ideas from others with differing goals too early would make that difficult. If I haven't figured out what my own goals are first, I won't know which of my critiquers' advice to take and which to reject.

That said, I do like being connected to critique/writing partners while I'm working - to commiserate about the struggles involved in bringing a first draft into being and to critique my partners' works-in-progress (an exercise that informs my own writing without directing it).

Sheri Perl-Oshins said...

Yes, Corey, I was there. Were you there? Were we both there and we didn't know it?! I was chairing registration this year so I might have even checked you in...

Jeanie, I think what you are saying makes a lot of sense; getting the heart of the story on your own, etc. I think that makes the most sense to me too. I feel like, in addition, others are better able to critique your work when you know your work. When in a first draft there is still so much you are figuring out and that is why we are so easily swayed in those early stages, another reason why you should NOT show your first drafts to anyone.

“Personal limitation exists only in our ideas of who we are. Give up all notions of who you are and your limitations will vanish.”

- Anonymous