What we're about
Are you a writer? Do you need good feed back regarding your work in progress?
Are you someone who enjoys hearing bits and pieces of written work that is in the "development stage" and are willing to give friendly but constructive critique?
Effective critique can make your writing sing and your motivation soar. If you have read the appreciation section of the latest novel you've admired, take note regarding how many individuals the author thanked. Most good novels and memoirs have lots of help from writing groups, friends and family members giving suggestions during the writing process. There are always names mentioned of those who helped form and shape the book with good and worthwhile suggestions.
One does not need to be a writer to join this group. If you are someone who enjoys the literary arts and has good insights for our writers critique sessions, then it may be a good fit for you. Of course we need writers as members, but this group is about getting feedback and constructive critique and thus the group may be a bit more inclusive than other writers groups.
I always feel a sense of kinship with famous writers —past or present whenever I learn about their writing processes. Having a group to critique with, bounce around ideas, or just have a sense of artistic camaraderie is an important part of many writing careers. Some of the famous writer’s groups:
The Inklings: Included C.S. Lewis among other well known male authors.
The Bloomsbury Group: included members such as Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strachey. According to Wikipedia: Although this group denied being a group in any formal sense. Members were united by an abiding belief in the importance of the arts and their work deeply influenced literature.
Algonquin Round Table: According to Wikipedia– Members and associates were Art Samuels, Charles MacArthur, Harpo Marx, Dorothy Parker and Alexander Woollcott.
Shakespeare And Company Writers: According to Wikipedia– Writers and artists of the “Lost Generation,” such as Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, George Antheil and Man Ray spent a great deal of time at Shakespeare and Company, and it was nicknamed “Stratford-on-Odéon” by James Joyce, who used it as his office.
Maya Angelou was part of a writers group in NYC. She mentions this in her latest autobiography regarding her adult years and how this influenced her to develop herself as a writer.
There are many different styles of critiquing fiction and memoir writing.
Writers may hire a local or long distant firm who employ would-be writers or even published writers to edit and critique manuscripts. This is not a very personal way to gain feed back and usually one has to have a completed manuscript besides lots of money. One also takes the risk when using this method that his or her voice within the writing will be misunderstood or changed beyond recognition by this form of gaining access to a reader (early editor) who gives critique. As mentioned these editing firms usually charge thousands of dollars and do not guarantee that your manuscript will be published by a credible publishing house.
One may also give their writing to a friend to read for his or her opinions or even purposely bump into a former professor and ask for suggestions, etc. One may pay to take a course at The Loft. Of course there is always self-publishing houses who will also edit manuscripts, but even then one wants to write a book that others will enjoy reading not just one that has good grammar.
A better way to gather helpful suggestions and become better writers, in my opinion, is to do what the famous authors of the past did to improve their writing and that is to be part of a group of writers. Purposely meet together as a group in person to help one another by going over bits and pieces of works in progress.
This Saint Paul Writing Fiction & Memoir Critique Group (of writers or helpful readers) is developing over time into a small committed group of individuals who meet monthly or even bi-monthly in person in a very relaxed setting to give feed back to one another.
This group meets in person and for the most part critiques with one another in person.
In other words we will not be sending our writing electronically to one another. This group is based on the salon tradition of past generations when aspiring writers and established authors desiring to move forward in their individual writing met in person to encouraging and help one another. They also shared topics of interest and great member donated refreshments.
There are two types of members of this Critique Group:
(1) To be a member of this group, you do not necessarily need to be currently working on a piece of writing (especially if you are a published author) but you must consider yourself someone who is very supportive of the arts and is good at giving helpful critique whether you are a writer or not. Many talented writers have non-writing friends who helped them in regards to critique. After all writers need readers otherwise what is the reason that we desire to be published.
(2) If you are a writer (published or not) or identify yourself as a writer and are currently working on a work of fiction or a memoir with the end desire of getting it finished and hopefully published, then join this group.
New members: There is a twice annual dues of $12. The first $12 is to be paid at the second meeting you attend. The organizer has chosen to do this rather than have new members pay through their credit cards on the Meet Up site. This way the total amount goes to cover expenses rather than Meet Up making an even greater profit. We have found that people get a lot out of even one or two meetings so it is worth the expense even if you find later the group doesn't meet your needs or you are too engaged to attend. The second $12 is to be paid around the times that Meet Up charges the host for using their web site.
All members must attempt to participate in at least two critique sessions a season. The first season begins in September/October and goes through March. The second season begins end of March / early April. As a new member one may begin attending at any time of the year.
All members may join our critique sessions, our social events and partake of refreshments and good conversations. We may meet up in various locations just for socializing. However our main function is to meet regularly to critique one another's work. The life of a writer is often very solitary and thus it is good for us to meet face to face to discuss our work and give and receive critique in a supportive writers community.
If you are in the process of writing your chapters or manuscript or are taking a break from writing and enjoy critiquing work in progress... please CONSIDER BECOMING AN ACTIVE MEMBER.
RSVP RULES and other information:
Only RSVP if you are definitely attending. If you sign up and then find out you are unable to attend (life happens) then you must remove your name from the attendees list as soon as possible so the host knows how many to expect. Thanks. (Do not just add your name to every date we are schedule to meet. Please think thoughtfully about your schedule and sign up if you genuinely plan to attend.)
We will be meeting in a comfortable setting of a home where we may also share member contributed healthy snacks and drink beverages of our choice.
The host of this group is a woman who is working on a series of novels that are inspired by actual events. The work is fiction but has elements of memoir writing and are semi-biographical in nature.
Over the years it has been noticed that authors of merit have formed good writing friends whom they get together with on a regular basis to talk and socialize, but also to critique works in progress.
Writing is a lonely profession or hobby because we spend most of our time alone with fictional characters.
This writers group may be very helpful to many of us in regards to having honest feed back that keeps us grounded in what readers want.
If the possibility of being part of this group interests you, then please answer the questionnaire regarding your writing and your critique interests.
The organizer may ask for clarification if she does not understand something. Likewise if you have any questions for the organizer, please do not hesitate to ask. There is one statement, not a question in the list of "questions." Please react to the statement with more than pointing out that it is not a question.
The meet up site has an internal message system that works better for the organizer than sending emails. Please learn how to use this Meet Up messaging function. Thank you.
Also please check into our club's web site on Meet Up at least once a month to see what is posted. Also, check again on the morning of an event in case there are changes.
Note: Cell phones do not have all the functions that a computer has for using Meet Up. Try to use a computer to check into our club's pages on Meet Up.
The organizer will give her telephone number to those who have in depth questions regarding the purpose and intent of the critique group.
Member DUES is paid twice a year. Please plan on paying $12 at your second meeting.
If there is a hardship, please let the organizer know. The charge is to cover the costs of using the Meet Up web page and to go towards many hidden hosting expenses.
Having the writers event meet twice a month in a home is to be appreciated, when possible, with a small donation over and above the Member Dues. There are many hidden expenses to hosting and thus any donation amount is appreciated. There is a tin for anonymous donations on the refreshment table.
Our third season is about to start in September 2017. This will be a great year of writing.
Hope to see you soon.