Writers Groups and Good Advice from a (Non?) Werewolf
I went back to my local writers group after not attending for nearly a year. (You can read a post about the writing roadblocks caused by living in a rural area here.) I had a nice enough time. We met at the country club. I'd never been there before and I liked it. I ate some delicious and reasonably priced eggs Benedict. I brought the first two pages of the sci-fi novel I'm perennially working on, A Singular Second, and received feedback similar to what I've heard from others. The sci-fi readers liked it; the people who don't read much sci-fi were confused. No one had any ideas about how to make it more understandable to a broad audience and that question had stumped me for a long time. I didn't want to just dump a lot of explanation in, because the point of the section was for it to be fast paced and shocking. I gave a couple people my email address and offered to read stuff for them if they needed feedback. A big part of getting something out of a group is putting something into it, and I think it's just a generally smart practice to maintain good writing karma. My lunch break over, I went back to work.
The next day a friend, J, mentioned to me that a mutual friend, B, had given him an idea for a cyborg werewolf story. I knew that B was also interested in writing, and I had a standing dinner date with her once a month, so we just invited J along, agreed to talk about writing, and called our new group the Definitely Not Werewolves Club. If you're curious as to why the group is called that, I think it's obvious that it's because none of the members are werewolves. No matter how much circumstantial evidence there is that a certain member...Never Mind. The point is, none of us are werewolves, hence the name.
I really enjoyed the first meeting of the DNWC. We talked about writing and lots of other things. It was clear that I was a more committed writer than they were, but they were thoughtful, intelligent readers. I read the two pages I'd printed for the other group and B suggested that I talk a bit about the virtual reality contacts, which were causing peoples' confusion, in the brief section (meant to foreshadow the book's ending and set an ominous tone) prior to the troublesome section, by saying the character was worried because his contacts weren't working. BRILLIANT!
We made plans to meet once a month (the relationship between our meetings and the moon is purely coincidental, no matter how odd it might seem that one of the members said they needed to check their calendar and then pulled out a chart of the lunar cycle) and I'm excited to regularly hang out with these two (non?) werewolves. I think it'll be good for my writing and just as importantly, it'll be fun.
Who do you talk about writing with? How did you find these people? Did you get lucky with existing groups or did you have to start your own?
P.S. Shad's making good progress on the children's book we're creating (funded through Kickstarter.) Here's the cover. (You can read about why I think our Kickstarted campaign was successfully funded here.)