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Archive for the ‘retreats’ Category

This weekend, Tex Thompson will be in town presenting a writer’s workshop at the library downtown (ugh – parking, yay – Tex!).

I’m excited about it and will remind my writer’s group this Thursday when we meet again.

This topic will be on world building. I, personally, don’t think one can ever get enough information on world building.  Even if you set the story in modern times in your home city and even your very own neighborhood, there are always new and interesting ways to make that world more present and more real in the story.

So, yes, I am excited.

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Mind, I do belong to a writer’s group, and they are very nice people. Some are published, most aren’t anywhere near ready to publish. That kind of inspired me to get off my lazy tush and start submitting some of my own fiction.

I’ve spent way too many years writing NaNovels and short stories off of pinterest prompts and doing nothing with them. They’ve languished on floppies and flash drives.

So, even though the people in this writing group don’t really understand what I write (they write crime novels and autobiographies and modernized Bible stories), they do their best for me. They’ve helped. I hope I’ve also helped them.

Being part of this group has solidified for me what I really want in a writer’s group, though.

And here it is:

A) gets together to WRITE (write ins, word wars, 1 day writing retreats, observation journaling, word challenges, writing games, first lines, flash fiction…). Part of each meeting is actively writing together, or the actively writing together is done once a month, with the other 3 meetings consisting of critiques, classes, guest speakers, progress reports, marketing tips, and other writer-related activities.

B) has progress reports (charts, accountability, swag*).

C) does reading swaps for critiquing (not only or always group critiques – that takes too long, especially at novel lengths).

D) encourages writing any length, any medium, any genre.

E) holds writing “classes” (character creation, journaling, lexicon work, sentence and paragraph creation, world building, set design, themes, plots…).

F) has local author guest speakers.

G) pairs writing partners for in-depth support and help.

H) meets weekly (monthly is just too slow, especially if you miss a meeting).

I) actively assists with marketing because so many authors are self-publishing now.

J) gives publication parties – for any length and any medium (maybe works with a bookstore on this when it’s novel length, and includes book sales and signing?).

Thus, a meeting would be spent:

1) 15 minutes of timed writing
2) 15 – 30 minutes discussion of critiques given
3) 15 minutes of progress reports
4) 30 minute “class” or guest speaker
5) 15 minutes marketing shares
6) 15 – 30 minutes socializing

Total meeting length – 2 – 2.5 hours.

(My minimum requirements are A), C), D), E), G), H), I), and J).)

*Swag could consist of stickers, badges, pencils, pens, plot ninjas, muse figures, plot bunnies, mini notebooks, flash drives, buttons, clappers, small packets of nuts or dried fruit snacks, small packets of tea (or cocoa, or mini bottles of booze, if the group is old enough…), themed magnets, bumper stickers, key fobs, post its, index cards, lip balm, hand lotion, literary bandages, writing related ink stamps, paper clips, book marks, and so on,most come from trashy treasures stores like Dillon Imports or MG Novelty or Oriental Trading Company. Stickers, buttons, and badges can be made on a printer and use a button making machine.

I like buttons and button making, but that’s probably because I have a button making machine. If I had a color printer, I’d probably be more into sticker making. Badges – well, those could be stickers or buttons or even computer badges to put on one’s website, not necessarily fabric badges to sew on.

Am I asking too much?

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My books live highly dissolute lives in total chaos. I’m sure they are very unhappy, which is why I am (slowly) preparing a room of their own, where they can live the useful, organized life they most desire.

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