Friday, January 22, 2010
The Value of Writers' Groups
Over the years, the Rats has worked with all three including some odd offshoots such as comics and gaming.
Now we're down to Brian K. Ladd and B. Miller, both published authors in the horror, steampunk and literary fields. We meet at Coffee Underground in the Red Room weekly and hash out novels, short stories, poetry. We compare notes, share markets, go on literary field trips to readings, book fairs, workshops, and are now planning what conferences and cons we'll attend over the next couple of years. B Miller is a specilaist in grammar, continuity, action, crime and police stuff. Brian handles history, philosophy, continuity, languages, research and character. Both of them are great with character development. I guess my forte is plot, psychological aspects and motivations of character, some grammar and the publishing industry, markets, trends, agents small presses.
The feedback we get can operate in many ways, encouragement as we're in the process, editing as we near the end of a chapter or short story, market suggestions and acknowledgement of when a piece is ready to submit. Sometimes, the meetings take odd turns, the feedback is a surprise and sends our work reeling off into other directions, into novels or into realms we would never have attemped on out own. From our most recent meeting I was confused as to what direction my story, "The Orchid Collector" was taking and the feedback was unanimous to take it out of the high fantasy realm and to put it back in the realm of steampunk erotica/dark fantasy since I'd already written another story Marquette de Fleur, which features one of the characters. So I played some steam wave music by Vernian Process and I'm on my way.
Don't underestimate the power of writers' groups. If you're not in one now, try and locate one. If it's a good match you will be amazed at how much your work improves.