What Happens at a Writer’s Group?

I’ve never been a member of a local writer’s group, and I have no idea if there are any around here. I haven’t looked into it. So, basically, I don’t know what really goes on at one. I have a vague idea. Writers meet, discuss their writing, maybe get advice. But do they share their work? What exactly do they do?

Are you a member of a local writer’s group? If you are, then what do you do at a meeting? What kind of places do you meet? Are there any relatively well-known authors? What are the benefits of joining a writer’s group?

Please let me know in the comments below. I’m wondering if I should join one after we get to Canada.

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6 thoughts on “What Happens at a Writer’s Group?”

  1. Haven’t ever been to a writers group. I always think if I go to one, they will think my stuff is useless and any creative thoughts I had in my head will be gone. That’s probably not the way it happens at all. But that is what I think happens. I have a friend that is a writer’s group and he loves it. They critique each others work and seem to really work well together, it seems like a really good thing.

  2. I have a poets’ group. We meet a couple of times a month, usually at a coffee shop or restaurant. Each person brings a poem with copies for the group, reads it, and then the others point out what works, what is confusing, what might be a better structure or line break, etc. People make notes on their copies and return them to the poet to use in the revision process.

    We do immediate reaction, which works because poems are short. People that I know who write longer forms send out a short story, essay or chapter of a novel to the other members in advance of the meeting so that people have a chance to read it and make notes.

  3. I don’t have as much experience with local writer groups to claim any kind of expert knowledge about it… but I have been involved with a couple groups here and there in the past few years. Some of them were based online though, not in a local community. The local community group I tried to join (at the time) had disbanded because it was in too small of a rural area to keep up activity.

    Most groups involve bringing works with and then reading them out loud, then people give feedback after the reading. Sometimes, if the group is very stable and used to longer works like novels, print-version manuscript portions will be shared between meetings through e-mail or similar, then next meeting, people will have read it by then and provide either direct editing upon their copy or just offer vocal feedback. This is more of a critique group than a writer’s group, however. Other times, someone will be running the group and offer topics to talk about it during or in substitution to sharing readings; this is more of a writer’s group, especially when they discuss writing craft techniques.

    For most groups, you don’t have to share your work right away if you don’t want to. It can be a good release though, to share a portion of work with people that don’t know you very well and aren’t familiar with the subject/story yet.

    If you’re curious about joining a group, I’d say go for it, check it out, and if you don’t like the group or the process for this or that, then stop going.

    1. Thanks. Sounds like they can be pretty diverse in their purpose. Critiquing I don’t mind, though I use Critique Circle and have found that incredibly useful. I think I may be more interested in a discussion kind of group. I’ll have to see what’s available if I decide to check one out.

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