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About the Community
The People’s Ink is an open, free and independent writers’ community. Our method is to meet each week for critique and discussion groups. Our goal is to provide an environment that fosters growth during all stages of a writer’s development. We’re a self-publishing cooperative that promotes local readings, and our community zine Typehouse showcases the writing of regional and national authors. Members may participate however they wish.
If you’re interested in checking out The People’s Ink, please write an introduction explaining your history as a writer and what you hope to achieve through involvement with the community. Email Rich, our community organizer, at email@example.com
We’re happy to involve all writers committed to their craft, 21 and over.
The People’s Ink offers an alternative to university and institutional creative writing programs. We believe that our culture has transformed in a way where it makes little sense for those who want to learn and explore the writer’s path to pay the astronomically high fees associated with certificates and degrees — those which typically confer a dubious real-world benefit and leave writers’ strapped with debt.
Creatively, we’ve reached critical mass. There’s a plethora of passionate and learned individuals able to guide and inspire one another. We believe the future of our craft lies in uniting these individuals in authentic interaction, for the purpose of developing writing for personal and professional aims.
• literary fiction
• genre fiction
• some seek publication, others seek to explore themselves and the world
• some write full-time, others part-time, as a hobby, or as a passion
Structure and Overview
We currently offer the following group formats: 1) Community Critique Groups, 2) Long-Form Focus Group, 3) Irony and Form Focus Group, 4) Writer’s Craft Discussion Group, 5) Novel Manuscript Exchange Focus Group, 6) Literature and Essay Focus group, 7) Free-Write Group, 8) Poetry Focus Group (as of 11/2014). The workshop and discussion groups offered by The People’s Ink depends upon the ever-changing needs of the community and evolve accordingly.
A workshop group consists of a submitting author, a facilitator who guides the workshop discussion, and up to six additional members who’ve come prepared to offer their feedback. The workshop discussion consists of a focused analysis of the submission, citing literary and stylistic conventions as appropriate; this includes such topics as character, plot, dialogue, style, theme, and so forth. A discussion groups consists of a facilitator and up to seven additional members who’ve read the assigned text in advance and who’ve come prepared to engage in informed discussion.
Submissions and assigned texts are distributed in advance via our member’s only forum (http://peoples-ink.com/forumindex/). Most groups meet Tuesdays in South East Portland roughly between 6:30PM and 8:30PM. Some groups start earlier or finish later while others skip weeks between meetings.
Community Critique Groups
These groups consists of between 5-8 members drawn from a pool of most community members. The membership of each group is partly randomized, but balanced taking into account member requests, personalities, literary interests, attendance and gender.
Submissions can be up to 10,000 words in length, though many decide to submit less. Members can expect to submit their own writing for critique approximately once for every 5 attendances.
The Focus Groups consist of between 5-8 non-rotating members that meet together for a predetermined number of weeks. Each Focus Group has a ‘focus’ such as style, genre or length of manuscripts. Max submission lengths vary depending on the needs of the focus group’s membership, as do meeting times and frequency. Most focus groups offer rotation-based submissions.
Examples of current Focus groups include:
1) The Novel Exchange Focus Group—novels and long-form pieces; 50k word count max; meetings once every 4-5 weeks; lasts 2-3 hours.
2) and The Irony and Form Focus Group—short fiction/non-fiction heavily based on structure and irony; 7.5k word count max; meetings every other week; lasts 1.5 hours; includes two separate member submissions.
Discussion groups meet to discuss narrative or philosophical topics such as character motivation in fiction, the plot structure of a mystery, Camus’ The Rebel, or Wittegenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. The purpose of a discussion group is not to critique writing, but rather, to delve fully into academic topics for the edification of all involved. In the case of Writer’s Craft Discussion Groups, the purpose is to grow our understanding of narrative and language—the ‘how of writing’. In the case of Philosophy Discussion Groups, the purpose is to explore philosophical topics and debate regarding their truth and efficacy—in other words—the ‘why of writing.’
Guidelines for Membership and Etiquette
We welcome all writers who are committed to the craft of creative writing and who are 21 years of age or older. There are no qualifications such as publication, quality of writing, experience or otherwise.
Members are expected to:
• Write consistently in order to have meaningful work available for critique
• Read their assigned submission(s) thoroughly before each meeting and come prepared to engage in productive discussion
• Attend each assigned meeting as best they can, be timely with their arrival and remain for the entire duration of the workshop
• Provide notice in advance when unable to attend a meeting
In order to uphold the standard of the community, we request that you be serious and committed with your attendance.
Critiques should be:
• Based on a complete reading of the manuscript, preferably more than one
• In accordance with the submitting author’s desired feedback
• Genuine and thorough
• In Focus Groups, in accordance with the agreed standard
• Not unduly negative
Every piece is worthy of respect, but every piece can benefit from feedback provided by thoughtful readers.
Sharing one’s words can be an intimate experience. For this reason, please approach each critique with sensitivity and tact.
Remember: a memoir is critiqued differently than a piece of fiction; a piece intended for publication differently than a journal entry; an experimental piece differently than a narrative piece; a first draft differently than a 5th.
With practice, you will improve your ability to critique submissions in a manner increasingly insightful and practical. You will notice that this skill crosses over and becomes equally beneficial during your own writing process.
Be aware that The People’s Ink attracts differing personalities. During the critique discussion, some will inevitably tend toward vociferousness and others toward reticence. Know your disposition. Strive for balance.
The People’s Ink accommodates a wide variety of writing styles, genres, approaches, techniques and intentions. As a member of The People’s Ink, you can expect to workshop writing that challenges you in myriad fashions. Please be open minded.
The People’s Ink is a community of responsible adults. You’re welcome to drink any beverage served by the hosting venue, but please be able to hold your alcohol responsibly.
Avoid excessively slanderous, sexist, and racist remarks; unwarranted sexual advances; words said in terrible taste; and other inappropriate behavior. These are grounds for immediate expulsion from The People’s Ink.
What our members have to say . . .
Tuesdays find us at candlelit tables
Drinks in hand, we discuss our fables
Feedback, given and taken in good form
We converse, but it is our stories that perform
From novels to novellas
From Mary Sue’s to Cinderella’s
Be it a chapter or a prologue
All’s discussed over wine and grog
We come for good advice
Which we get for a beer’s price
We come hoping to be inspired
And we leave with muses set afire
So visit us on a Tuesday night
Join us, communicate with candlelight
Come for food, kinship and drink
Bring your words to the People’s Ink
By Nicole O.
I’ve been in a handful of writing groups over the years, but nothing quite like the People’s Ink. At first I was a little wary of joining such a large group. I figured the chemistry I had worked so hard to create with my smaller group would be missing here. I was wrong. The People’s Ink is just a larger family. Best of all, you get out of it what you put in. There are so many opportunities between the various focus groups, manuscript exchanges and craft workshops. You can really tailor your experience based on your level of writing proficiency and where you are with your work. I recommend the People’s Ink to anyone looking to link to a diverse community of writers.
- Adam S.
Community Sponsored Authors and Zine
We provide our members with a modest platform to publicize their writing. None of us are famous authors that make a living through our writing. What we are is determined, passionate, creative, and firm believers in DIY and grassroots philosophies.
Check out community authors at http://peoples-ink.com/peoples-ink-authors
Check out the community zine Typehouse at typehousemagazine.com
For more information, please email Rich at: firstname.lastname@example.org