1. Writing Group How-To’s
Looking for guidance about starting, or improving, a writing group?
The BACCA writers wrote up some detailed how-to’s.
AM Carley‘s nuts-and-bolts description – how our particular writing group functions and supports its members.
It’s OK to make an “extra mile” request – for writing support beyond the monthly 3K words, or for attending an open mic reading, or reviewing a published work – but it is not expected that the others will be able to oblige – some may, and some may not.
Carolyn O’Neal analyzes five steps toward a useful and sustainable writing group.
Remember why you joined a writing group:
To get published.
To support each other’s writing journey, regardless of the outcome.
To be part of a community of writers.
Claire Elizabeth Cameron reflects on the qualities to look for in writer group members.
Kindness is probably the most important quality. But a writing group is not just about “being nice.” Your mother or partner may give you “nice” feedback, but what you want are people who can read your writing, tell you what works, and tell you how to improve.
Bethany Joy Carlson tells all – how she went about organizing us into BACCA Literary, and what she learned along the way.
Leading a writing group is enjoyable. A few simple guidelines keep the duties fun and help the writing group flourish. They boil down to clear communication: actively listening + sharing clear decisions.
2. The Critique
We began with the method for critiquing one another’s work shared courtesy of Prof. Luke Whisnant. It’s been helpful to us.
Then, over the years, we refined our own critique methods, and wrote up a more comprehensive set of guidelines.
BACCA writer Noelle Beverly starts us off with her thoughtful comments on how to approach a critique. After preliminary how-to steps, we then continue to more specific guidelines by genre. We include sections for Fiction (by Luke Whisnant), Narrative Nonfiction (modified by BACCA writer Carolyn O’Neal), Children’s Books (from BACCA guest writer Pam Evans), and Self-Help / Instructional manuscripts (modified by BACCA writer A M Carley). Throughout, Whisnant’s text appears in bold type.
It is more valuable for a writer to hear what’s working and what could work better than it is to hear “I liked it” or “I didn’t like it.” “I liked it” is good for the ego but does nothing for the writing.