First, IF you are RSVPing, and you have previously attended, please commit to reading the stories IN ADVANCE with a written critique or story notes if you plan to attend.
This means, in advance, read and critique the stories. If you have any questions about this please feel free to contact me, but I think this is self-explanatory. If you cannot read the stories in advance, please consider to wait to RSVP to a meetup when you have time to do this work in advance. I hate to keep mentioning this, but this issue seems to keep coming up.
If someone has already covered what you're going to say, or you've lost your notes for the meetup, simply say "Pass" and we move on to the next critique. Please do not try to critique a story you have not read in advance. This is unfair to the other writers and to yourself.
How do I find the stories? (FAQ)
Uploaded stories are available under the "More" link above in the dashboard, and then from there, scroll down to see "Files".
Whatever we don't finish in one meeting will carry over to the next critique meetup and priority will be given to the writers who haven't had a critique the month before. In other words, the "new" writers will get critiqued first, and then as time permits we will workshop the stories by writers who were previously critiqued. (When submitting a story or novel chapter please try to make 4K-5K words the upper range, and of course your story can be much shorter than this. Flash fiction is also encouraged.)
IF submitting PLEASE try to upload stories within the next two weeks so group members will have plenty of time to read them. (Approximately 3 weeks from today.)
(In theory, if you feel so compelled, you could submit longer than 5,000 words, but then members are only expected to read and print off the first 5,000 words and finish the entire work ONLY if they are so inclined. Please only do this if your story is close to 5,000 words, say 6K or 7K, otherwise try to divide it up into two separate parts)
We'll be using is the Milford method to critique stories. Essentially we go around in a round robin, and everyone gives 2-3 minutes of feedback on their thoughts in the story. The writer being critiqued is QUIET until the end, and then responds, explains, or (hopefully!) thanks the critique group for their thoughts and opinions. ONCE the critique ends and the writer replies, hard copies with comments are distributed back to the writer all at the same time.
So essentially if we have 4 stories we'll be giving 30 minutes to each story and we move onto the next story. If we get 5 stories, then we could go a bit longer and squeeze in a fifth, or table it for the next time. Hence, try to keep your comments to 2-3 minutes when giving feedback, unless we have fewer members than usual, or fewer stories to critique for the evening. So I hope 2-3 minutes doesn't sound Draconian, but at 10 writers, 3 minutes apiece and we're at 27 minutes before the writer even comments, and this assumes no interruptions/delays, like coffee refills, conversational banter and finding a parking spot.
The meetup is scheduled for 6:30PM. I imagine we'll want to spend the first fifteen minutes or so ordering coffee or food and securing a table, and we'll try to start the actual critique at 6:45. Location TBA!
When you come to the meetup, please print out the submitted stories (the first 5 at least), add any critique notes on the copy, and then share with the writer AFTER everyone has given their critique and the writer has responded. Here is a primer on Milford if you're unfamiliar with it:
When giving your critique of the writer's work, try NOT ask the writer direct questions that will launch the writer into a monologue about their story. You can pose questions that they can answer once it's their turn to respond. If you absolutely must ask the writer something, try to phrase it as a yes/no question that they could in theory answer quickly, so as not to interrupt your own critique, OR wait until the writer speaks at the very end and then ask your questions. Thanks!
Dues are $2 to help support Meetup costs that I pay in advance, payable via Paypal or in person at the meeting, but Paypal is preferred since that makes it easier for me to keep track of, but I realize some people might not use Paypal.
Thanks for being a member, and I hope to meet more writers at the next meetup!
And if you haven't submitted a piece for critique yet, now is the time!