Back At It

My writers’ club hasn’t had a regular meeting since early November. We always cancel the fourth Wednesday;’s November meeting because of Thanksgiving. The only meeting in December is our Christmas carry-in, all fun and food, no work. Christmas eliminates the second meeting. So tomorrow will be the first time we’re back to reading and critiquing for a long time. I’m looking forward to it.

I can remember where each reader left their stories. Les is close to wrapping up the final chapters on his thriller set in a future Chicago. Turns out the dead girl the cops found floating in the water wasn’t murdered. She overdosed. But finding her body sure caused an uproar. Mary Lou left her Regency with the kids’ nanny sick after she caught what they had, and the brother who came home from the navy to raise his dead brother’s kids is pretty interested in her. I love Regency romances. Larry, our group’s ex-cop, read more from his memoir. The man’s lucky he’s still alive. Patrolling the streets of Milwaukee in those days was risky business.

Our group meets for two hours the second and fourth Wednesday of each month, and three readers volunteer to share pages with us. Each one gets fifteen minutes to read, and then we go around the table to offer critiques and give feedback. The author can’t respond until we’ve circled the entire table, and then it’s his or her turn to talk. We learned to do it like this the hard way, because if the reader got to respond to each critique, it took forever. We all believe positive feedback is more productive than trying to rip someone’s work to shreds. We state what we liked, what we thought worked, and what the author might be able to make better. Most of us print out pages to share while we read. A few don’t. We do our best either way. We have as few rules as possible.

After the meeting, most of us go to The Tower Bar and Grill for food and conversation. We like each other. Sometimes, we talk writing. Sometimes we share what’s going on in our lives. Either way, being with fellow writers is wonderful. We’re lucky. People who’ve left our group complain they can’t find another group like ours. But then, we’ve had a lot of practice. The group has existed for well over thirty years. It was going strong when I joined it.

Whether you have a group or not, I hope life has returned to a happy pace for you. And if you’re a writer, hope the words flow and the ideas never stop coming.

Fun and Clever!

I had a great day yesterday–so much fun that I didn’t get around to writing my usual blog to post last night. I hosted my writers’ group for the first time this year, and it was wonderful! When Covid numbers spiked last November, we decided to err on the side of caution and postpone getting together. But now, the majority of us have gotten our second vaccinations, and we’re a small enough group, we decided it should be okay to get back on schedule. We’ll be meeting at my house the second and fourth Wednesday of each month until we can return to our faithful library meeting room and go to a restaurant afterward. Seeing everyone was WONDERFUL, talking writing and catching up on what they were working on. We lingered longer than usual because we’re friends as well as critique partners.

By the time everyone left, I wasn’t ready to be industrious or do anything of value, including writing, so I flipped through Netflix and found a TV movie to try, ENOLA HOLMES. And boy, did I get lucky. What a find! It was funny and clever with great twists and turns and clues. Enola was the sister of Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes, and she learned detecting from her famous brother, played by Henry Cavill. Poor Mycroft didn’t come out well in this show, doing his best to “tame” Enola by enrolling her in a boarding school after her mother left the house and disappeared. The mother, Helena Bonham Carter, raised Enola on her own and taught her all of the things women WEREN’T supposed to learn at that time in history–reading on a wide range of subjects, playing sports, and practicing martial arts. No embroidery. When Enola escapes her brothers to look for her mother, she meets a young viscount who’s running away from his family. A good thing since they’re trying to kill him, and the two team up to help each other.

The movie is well acted, fast-paced, and just good, witty fun. I enjoyed the Sherlock movies with Robert Downing, Jr. and Jude Law. This take has the same clever wit and eccentric clues. I thoroughly enjoyed it. So I not only got to see my writing friends yesterday, I got to watch an entertaining, wonderful mystery, as well. A good day. And that’s why my blog is late. Oops. And now it’s time to get back to my writing:)