The Woodbridge Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Meetup Pages

The Woodbridge Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Meetup is
MORE THAN JUST A CRITIQUE GROUP!

You are NOT REQUIRED to submit a work for critique to every meeting you attend. Although you should be writing in between Meetups, we understand if you don't have something to bring because, for example:
a) You can't write a new short story every month, or
b) Your novel is in a stage where it's not ready for critique, or
c) Your novel or story has already been "critiqued to death"in other groups, and you want to discuss MARKETING it now!

WE HAVE INTERESTING DISCUSSIONS, TOO!
We usually spend AT LEAST the first half of each meeting discussing topics related to writing science fiction and fantasy. This may include sharing success stories, talking about ideas for plot changes, discussing current SF books and movies that inspired you, raving about your favorite authors and books you've read, announcements about writers conferences or SF "cons", marketing your work, finding agents, and anything else that excites you in the world of science fiction and fantasy. In a couple of our early meetings, we became so involved in the SF discussion that we forgot to leave time for the critique, but now we always ask first how many people brought works to critique, so we make sure to leave time for reviewing them. If someone says they have to leave early, we try to accommodate them by starting the critique session early. Usually there is someone who has something writing related that they are dying to talk about, other than the one chapter (or short story) they brought to critique, so they like the idea of this group being MORE than just a critique group!

WE'VE HAD GUEST SPEAKERS, TOO*
In the past, we've had several guest speakers, including a fantasy novelist with two trilogies under his belt, a science fiction novelist, and John Joseph Adams (well known editor of national SF/F magazines and anthologies).
*But, that was back when we met at the Woodbridge Public Library, and now that the library no longer allows writing groups to meet there (without paying a large fee!), we're limited as to guest speakers. The Panera Bread where we now meet has limited seating room. If one of you knows a good place to meet that has more seating capacity, let the Meetup organizers know, so we can start bringing guest speakers again.

CRITIQUE GUIDELINES: Below are some guidelines for the critique part of our meeting:

Be constructive: When critiquing, even if you don't like something, any criticism should be constructive, focused on how to improve rather than on cutting people down! That is, rather than saying, "I don't like your writing style," say, "Your story could be improved if you add more XYZ or take out ZYX." This isn't usually a problem in face to face meetings, but often in written followups critiquers seem to feel they can be more harsh, so this rule goes to any written followups as well, by email or any other means. None of us are perfect, and everyone has different taste, because I've seen from personal experience that the story you think is "horrible" may very well be sold the next month to a prestigious publisher for big bucks!

FORMAT: Plan to read your work aloud, and bring copies for people to look at while you read. Double-spaced is best, so group members can write notes on it, but we don't care if you print on both sides of the paper.

LENGTH: It's not set in stone, but suggested length is 1500 words, maximum length 3000 words. In pages (Times 12 point font), 1500 words is just under five pages double spaced, or about three pages single-spaced (but you should always double-space to allow room for people to write comments or corrections!) Don't worry if your MS is longer than 1500 words, you can still bring it, but please keep it under 3000 words.
Don't worry if your MS is longer: you can still bring it, and either
a) read half of it at a meeting (plan where to break ahead of time), or
b) if there is time left after everyone else has read theirs, then maybe you can read the whole thing, or
c) If nobody else brings anything to critique, which sometimes happens, you can read 10 pages or more!
I like to have people with shorter works go first, to get more people a chance to contribute, and then people with longer works can still read theirs, time permitting.

So far, when we've started critiques at a reasonable time, we haven't had to cut people off (but sometimes we're so involved with lively discussions that we start critiques late!)

And again, all critiques (including any written or email followups) should be constructive, not insulting. If you don't have anything constructive to say, it's better to keep quiet (but I'm confident you can all find SOMETHING constructive to say).

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
Meeting rules and critique guidelines November 27, 2009 1:32 PM David Harten W.
About the Woodbridge SF and Fantasy Writers Meetup November 27, 2009 1:32 PM David Harten W.
About The Woodbridge Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers Meetup June 16, 2012 9:33 PM David Harten W.

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