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John A.



Mountain View, CA
Hometown: Mountain View

Organizer since:

September 15, 2014

What is your writing background?

For my professional life,I wrote a great deal of expository prose. My ventures into poetry and fiction were tentative and not encouraging. On retiring to the Bay Area, I joined a writing class in order to hone my skills at memoir. I have had so much fun writing poetry and short stories that I have not written nearly as much memoir as I had expected. Something has changed. Now thanks to Nanowrimo, I have stumbled into writing a novel, something that I also knew I could never do. It's only a bit over 10,000 words but I know now that I have to finish it. I get some feedback from my fellow classmates but I'm hoping to increase the amount and the penetration of critique by joining your group.

What is your writing style? Do you tend to write poetry/fiction/both?

I love poetry and I write some from time to time, but not enough to really call myself a poet. I also write short stories, and lately, flash fiction. From time to time I send into competitions but apart from a long-listing in Flash500, with little success. As mentioned above, I am now toiling to complete a novel. My style? I love irony and word play so I tend to create highly articulate characters. In one or two very short pieces, I have some comically slow-witted characters; in the world of my longer pieces there may be foolish people but not stupid. I've written occasional fantasy pieces but my main genre is realism. Memoire! I think that I've had an interesting life and I still make an effort to write memoir. I conceive this to be written for family, to be read by others if and only if it happens to catch their interest. I don't think that I've led a particularly marketable life.

What would you hope to gain from joining a group like this?

Critique! The in-class comments that I get in the writing class that I attend are very helpful but they are very much off-the-cuff. This group here appears to be a bit more structured in its approach: Google Docs, pre-circulation of text, etc. In general, my class-mates seem to like my writing but, fortunately, they don't hesitate to find fault. However, I'm occasionally astounded by things that they completely miss. A recent example was a love-triangle that I very explicitly set out in the first paragraph. One person got it but only after a second reading. A writer has to discover these failures to communicate - so I did. Now I'd like to know WHY nobody got it. That takes longer. I'm hoping that it will happen in the Red Rock. I've already confessed to being retired. However, I was told by one of your organizers that the age criterion was really an attempt to match experience, rather than age per se. As I am very much still a beginner, she said to please come along. Hope it works out.


I was born in China, of English parentage, grew up in New Zealand, carry a passport from the UK, and a Green Card from the US where I have spent my entire professional life. I have written many professional papers but little fiction, until now!

What John A. is saying about this Meetup Group

As this was my first meeting, I have little to go on in making a separate judgement on the group. Given my experience of the meeting, that judgement has to be highly favorable.

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