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Plymouth Writers Message Board › Rules of the Road for Plymouth Writers

Rules of the Road for Plymouth Writers

Brian A.
user 63530092
Group Organizer
Plymouth, MI
Hi All,
Since our group has grown considerably over the past several months, I've decided to implement a few rules and guidelines to help facilitate the meetings and provide a better process for our critiques. The rules may look a little lengthy at first glance, but they are very straightforward and will make this a better experience for all of us.
• Open to new members
• 10 - 15 members maximum per meeting
• Any genre, any type of writing accepted
• All levels -- experienced or inexperienced
• Who is our audience? This group!
• We are here to encourage and help improve and polish our work. If each piece is a baby, we’re here to help it grow and go out into the world (publishing it or something else).
• This group exists to work on the craft of writing. Group members must be serious about writing and willing to work within group parameters.

Participation Rules
• The work is under discussion, not the person.
• Be as forthright, inspective and compassionate to others’ work as you would your own.
• All prospective members are welcome to come to a meeting and try us out, but will be asked to listen and observe the first time.

Meetings are once a month. If didn’t come to the previous meeting, your work will not be reviewed until you have attended two consecutive meetings.
• You must RSVP on the Meet Up site in order to attend the meeting. If there isn’t a spot open, please RSVP for the next meeting if you want to participate. If you don’t RSVP and just show up, your work will not be reviewed.

• All members can post their work in the “Files” section of the Meet Up site. Keep the amount of text manageable for others to read. Generally, the maximum submission should be no longer than 4000 words, and members are not obligated to critique beyond that length. All members are invited to critique posted files and are asked to select the option to make the file available for “this group only” when uploading.
• Generally, your work will not be critiqued unless it is agreed by the group that your work will be reviewed at the next meeting. You must also post it at least one week in advance. This will give each group member enough time to read the work carefully and prepare a critique.
• The group facilitator will ask for submissions at the current meeting. The group will agree on which work will be reviewed for the next month. The goal is to give each member an opportunity to have their work critiqued. Priority will be given to members based on those who have attended previous meetings but have not yet had their work reviewed.
• Members should give a little guidance when posting files on level of critique requested (is it a 1st draft? Do particular sections need attention? Is this a finished chapter/poem? What’s the backstory, etc.)

• Be prepared to discuss all of the work being critiqued for that month’s meeting. Files from reviewers with critiques can be posted on the website -- or if you want to bring a hard copy of your critique that’s ok.
• If your work is being critiqued, you will be asked if you want to read a sample of up to two-pages. Because of time constraints, we will limit the reviews to about five per month. You can bring extra copies of your work and pass it out in case someone has not had time to read it on the website.

General Rules At The Meeting
• Authors: No apologies. Let the work speak for itself.
• All other members must be quiet while another member has the floor during critiques (to prevent our discussion from falling into back and forth rebuttals).
• Author is not allowed to speak until critique is through (We want the group members’ impressions of the work, since the author already put theirs out there -- it’s up to us to figure out how successful it was).
• If you’ve never given a critique, try this: Give 3 things you liked about the story/chapter and 3 things you were confused by or think need work.
• Copy editing (grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.) can be marked on the manuscript, but not required in the verbal critique (unless it gets in the way of your understanding).

Glenn B.
user 189139717
Saline, MI
Post #: 1
Brian, I suggest revising the 4th bullet point under General Rules at the Meeting, to delete the first sentence: If you've never given a critique, try this: Bringing only 3 things we liked about the story and 3 areas we feel may need improving, should become our general rules for the critique. process.

Bullet point 5 should remain as written.

Thank you,
Glenn Bowman, 11/4/15
Brian A.
user 63530092
Group Organizer
Plymouth, MI
Post #: 9
Thanks Glenn. I appreciate the suggestion. I don't want to necessarily limit all critiques to this, though, since some experienced reviewers may wish to approach it differently. I have personally experienced some excellent feedback that I would not have gotten had I limited it in that way.
Glenn B.
user 189139717
Saline, MI
Post #: 2
Thanks for the explanation, Brian, and for allowing me to voice my concern. I appreciate your approach in leading the group.

Best regards,
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