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.