Wednesday, May 04, 2016

IWSG: The Power of a Writing Community

Most days, the writing itself is its own reward. I know when my scenes work and when further editing/writing is needed. And, most of the time, I can catch those grammatical errors. 

I'm most interested in critiques that help me dig deeper into my stories, spot structural problems, character missteps, plot holes, misplaced images, flat writing, and, perhaps most challenging, straggling or struggling story lines.

But I haven't found a face-to-face writing group that gives this kind of feedback. Yet.

Nile Crocodile (Wikipedia)
I've been in groups where at the end of the evening, I've felt somewhat eviscerated. And in other groups where everyone smiled and told me how wonderful my story was. 

Neither advances my cause. The criticisms that cut to the bone leave me doubting, and the fans who wave pompoms also cause me to doubt my storytelling skills.

What about online writing groups that critique work-in-progress? 

The Internet Writing Workshop offers a listserv exchange for people interested in getting feedback on novels. For every one of your own chapters you post for review, you need to critique two chapters by other writers. I've met other serious writers this way, read and critiqued some wonderful work, and gained immensely from very thoughtful critiques. The sheer volume of subs can be daunting, but I'm nearly ready to join again those colleagues of the pen in NOVELS-L, one chapter at a time.

Just as the Facebook group, 10-Minute Novelists, has helped me write in little bites, so too the Facebook group, Insecure Writer's Study Group has helped me feel connected to other writers. 

Manito Park (Camp 2014)
Writing is a solitary pursuit. I'm OK with that most of the time. But I do want critical feedback, perhaps from beta readers by the end of the summer.

That's my writing goal for 2016. Finish the draft. Find a few good readers for critical feedback. Publish Rivers of Stone this year.

It's spring, the season for optimism. May your own writing and editing go well. 

Find out what other IWSG writers are thinking about this month on the Insecure Writer's Study Group website or on the Facebook page.