What we're about

FIND US ON FACEBOOK! (highly recommended for better/ faster communications & writerly discussions):

OUR NAME ON FACEBOOK: SPWG (The St. Paul Writing Group)

LINK TO THE FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/groups/824597264548269/about/

WHO WE ARE: The St. Paul Writing Group (SPWG) is populated by writers of all genres, dedications, and levels of experience...

Do you write Fiction? Cool. We do that.

How about Non-Fiction? Yep. We do that too.

Is your content extremely serious, or lighthearted? Doesn't matter. We like both. And everything in between.

New writer? Veteran? Poetry? Prose? Memoirs? Screenplays? Comic strips? Blogs? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

You get the idea. SPWG doesn't discriminate and welcomes all kinds. The one thing we all seem to have in common is a great sense of camaraderie and a desire to improve our writing by hanging around other writers, picking each others brains, sharing all the best grammar memes, and generally celebrating our writing accomplishments with other awesome people.

We hope you'll join us.

WHAT WE OFFER:

Group members can expect to benefit in the following 3 ways:
1) Surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals helps boost morale. (Seriously. And this can't be overstated. It's #1 for a reason.)
2) The change of scenery & atmosphere from a home office can tap in to the most creative and productive portions of our brains. (ie: You'll probably be way more productive if you join us & show up to some Meetups.)
3) Establishing a writing routine allows us to accomplish the things we were putting off for "one day". (We've all been there. But that journey of a thousand miles...)

We currently have 2 ongoing groups:

• Our bread & butter is the weekly Write-In. Write-Ins are dedicated working time. Bring your current Work in Progress (WiP) and whatever you need to get work done (laptop, pen & paper, headphones, etc). There is always time for a bit of chatting, so look for our table sign & come ready to meet writers & share ideas. Of course, if you'd rather just hide in a corner with your headphones in, blaring "Free Bird" or "Piano Sonata No. 11" while you pound out another 1,500 words, that's cool too. The 10:00 - 1:00 time slot is suggestive only. Some people show up early. Some show up late. Some leave early. Some hang around all day. The point is: Come when you can, for as long as you can. Someone will probably be there to nod & smile at you.

• We've recently expanded into a Critique Time. Critique Times are a bit more complicated. You can read the full description on any of our Meetups (or just click here (https://www.meetup.com/St-Paul-Writers-Group-SPWG/events/kjkzdqyxmblb/)). The short version = 1) Please show up on time. 2) On your turn, read your work aloud while others help with your direct concerns. 3) Return the favor when others have a go.

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS:

As the SPWG expands, we hope to add...

• various Workshops on requested topics (self-publishing/ grammar/ co-writing/ your online presence & marketing/ finding your writing voice/ query letters/ knowing your audience/ etc.)

• a Reading Group (everyone reads the same work, then meets to discuss/ dissect it. This would be very much like a Book Club, but for shorter works so that the actual reading element isn't as much of a burden that Book Clubs often create)

• a few Reading Celebration Extravaganzas (a special meeting for everyone to read a short, finished piece which they feel is worthy of celebration).

WHERE TO START:

Maybe you're testing the writing waters for the very first time. We have people who have been there, done that, and know how to help you avoid some of the biggest pitfalls. Once we have it rolling, the Prompting Group would be great. In the meantime, you can always stop in at a Write-In and give it a try... see if anything sticks.

Maybe you're getting back into it after a long hiatus. We have people with experience to help you stay focused, stay on track, and do it better than ever. The Write-In is definitely the place for you. Get your butt in that chair and get that nose to that grindstone. Oh yeah, and get yourself some coffee, too. :)

Maybe you're finally nearing the end of your first novel. Well first of all, Bravo! good sir or madam as the case may be. Second, we have several of those too. And they know all about the difficulties & triumphs of climbing that last hill of pages... as well as the dreaded mountain beyond called "publishing". The Critique Time is tailor-made for your needs, though the Write-Ins wouldn't hurt either.

Maybe you even have a stack of published books or articles already to your credit. We bow down to you, m'lady or m'lord. You are certainly among the elite and a force to be reckoned with! Inspirations such as you are a lot harder to find... but yes, we even have a few of those hanging around as well. (And we'd just love to swap books, stories, and perhaps even some serious beta reading in between working on the next project). You are our future workshop leaders. Let us know what you know and we'll get something scheduled.

ONE FINAL (slightly awkward) NOTE:

Not everyone knows this, but running a Meetup group is not free. Our organizer pays a monthly fee to keep it going. After you've been to a Meetup or two, if you like what the SPWG has to offer & would like to say Thanks, even $12 (ie: $1/ month) would be greatly appreciated. Here's where to make that happen (https://secure.meetup.com/St-Paul-Writers-Group-SPWG/contribute/).

Upcoming events (5+)

PROMPTING GROUP (biweekly)

Southdale Library

--FORMAT-- 1) Anyone can attend. No need to RSVP. Prompting Groups are designed to help generate ideas, be more creative, or even cure writer's block (so I've been told). 2) Everyone arrives ready to write: laptop/ pad & pen/ etc. (Side Note: laptops need power... bring a full battery and/or power cord). 3) The Leader will also come prepared with 4 or 5 prompts (see examples below) to ensure there are enough prompts to fill the 2-3 hour time slot. Meanwhile, anyone can come with their own. 4) When a prompt is chosen, a time limit is specified. This might be anywhere from 5-30 minutes. 15-20 is the norm, but depending on the people, the prompt, or how much time is left, anything goes. 5) The prompt is then shared & (quiet!) writing time begins. There are no Rights or Wrongs. You can write fiction, a descriptive diatribe, a poerm... the table is fully open to whatever comes to mind. That's key to unlocking the creative brain. Side Note: some prompts might have special requirements. The Leader keeps track of time & provides 1 or 2 warnings about the time remaining. 6) Next: Share time! In round-robin fashion, everyone comfortable doing so, reads what they wrote. This is often where the real fun occurs. Laughing & Ah-ha! moments are common. A great deal, creatively speaking, can be gleaned by simply listening to the results. EXAMPLE PROMPTS: A) Something Specific: "You're a snowman. It's July. Go." B) Something Generic: "There is a golden glow on the horizon. Go." C) Something Inspiring: "Write something that explains the following quote from Hellen Keller: 'Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow.'" /or/ "...from Groucho Marx: 'Be open minded, but not so open minded that your brains fall out." [Side Note: There are plenty of websites that provide these types of writing prompts, but eventually such websites can become repetitive & stale.] D) Three Things: "Write something that includes the following 3 words: pomegranate, skunk, advantageous. Go." [Side Note: These can be made up on the spot just by asking for 3 items (in this case, a food/ animal/ adjective)] E) Random Sentence: "Does anybody have a book handy? Great. Open it to page... 42 & read the 1st sentence of the 3rd paragraph.... The sentence = TALK WITH THEM ABOUT THE NEED TO KEEP YOUR WRITING PRIVATE. Ok, that's our prompt. Go." [Side Note: Alternate version = writers are asked to include the sentence in their piece, meaning they have to copy the exact words & work it into whatever they write.] F) Constrained Writing... "Someone pick a letter of the alphabet. / 'R' / Ok. Our first word begins with the letter 'R'. The next word begins with the next letter. When you get to 'Z', wrap around to 'A' & keep going. If you get to R again, keep going. Write as many words as possible in 10 minutes. Ready? Go." [There are many (many!) forms of constrained writing. Try looking up these for some more ideas: DRABBLE, PILISH, FAN FICTION, & the novel "GADSBY"] G) Exquisite Corpse... "Everyone take a sheets of lined paper. At the top, write a single sentence describing your high school sweetheart. Then pass your paper to the left. On the next paper, read the starter sentence then add another sentence in any fashion you see fit. Then pass THAT paper to the left. We'll go around the table one time, ending with your original paper, and you get to write the last sentence. Go." [Side Note: An "Exquisite Corpse" is a method by which a collection is assembled by having multiple collaborators each add one small element to the overall product. Other examples include: Adding 1 WORD at a time, Adding a sentence with a specific word in it ("Starting with Red & ending with Violet, each successive sentence must include the next color of the rainbow"), or Hiding all but the most recent sentence so that writers have just 1 visible sentence to work from. --FOOD-- The Southdale Library allows you to bring your own food & drink, provided that you clean up after yourself.

WRITE-IN (weekly)

The Black Dog Cafe

--DESCRIPTION-- Write-Ins are dedicated working time. Bring your current Work in Progress (WiP) and whatever you need to get work done (laptop, pen & paper, headphones, etc). There is always time for a bit of chatting, so look for our table sign & come ready to meet writers & share ideas. Of course, if you'd rather just hide in a corner with your headphones in, blaring "Free Bird" or "Piano Sonata No. 11" while you pound out another 1,500 words, that's cool too. The 10:00 - 2:00 time slot is suggestive only. Some people show up early. Some show up late. Some leave early. Some hang around all day. The point is: Come when you can, for as long as you can. Someone will probably be there to nod & smile at you. --FOOD-- Black Dog Cafe is a business with overhead, employees, lighting, heating, & electricity bills. Their coffee shop offees both drinks & various sandwiches at fair prices. SPWG highly encourages you to support their business whenever attending a meetup.

CRITIQUE TIME (biweekly)

Southdale Library

--PLEASE RSVP-- Success in a critique group lends itself to a greater responsibility than Write-Ins... No People = No Critiquing. Therefore, if you mark yourself as "Going" to a critique meetup, please do you very best to actually be there. If something changes, that's fine. We all have real lives to contend with. But please also mark yourself as "Not Going" so we know how many people to expect. Thanks! --SCHEDULING A CRITIQUE SPOT-- To schedule a critique spot, leave a comment here on Meetup.com directly onto that date's meetup. Feel free to copy-paste this text: I WOULD LIKE TO SCHEDULE A CRITIQUE SPOT FOR THIS MEETUP, PLEASE. THANKS! Spots are awarded on a first-come/ first-serve basis. --GUIDELINES-- Anyone can attend, not just those who want help with their writing. In fact, you'll often find that you'll learn just as much about writing from helping others & simply hearing everyone's differing opinions whether your piece is the one being inspected or not. More importantly, it is absolutely essential to be respectful during the critique process. We all spend countless hours on our written babies, and to have someone tell us any part of it is "wrong" is very (very!) hard to take... even if they happen to be right. Therefore, it's important to remember to give all feedback- especially negative feedback- with as much delicacy & respect as possible to the author's many hours of hard work. People who make outright rude or disrespectful criticisms will be asked to leave the group. --FORMAT-- 1) If you want help on something you're writing, please bring 10x copies of up to 1,000 words. 2) When it's your turn, you'll start by handing out your copies & then explaining, specifically, what you're hoping to get help with. HERE ARE A FEW EXAMPLES: "I'm worried that the victims in this bank robbery scene don't come across as very realistic. Can you guys help me figure out what's too Over-the-Top about them? I'm especially concerned about the bank teller and the lady with the green purse." --or-- "This is the introduction to my memoir. I've probably gone over this first page a hundred and fifty times. My husband tells me it's good, but I keep feeling there's something... off... about it. I'm not sure what. I don't want to say any more about the rest of the book because I think it might lead you too much. So I guess what I'm asking is: 'Upon reading this first page, what vibe do you get? What kind of journey do you think I'm going to take you on through the rest of the book? And what specific lines make you feel that way?'" --or-- "I always over-describe and under-narrate when I draft, and I still struggle with it when I revise. Can you help me cut the descriptive fat and maybe suggest another action sequence or two that my protagonist could do in this scene?" 3) You'll then read your passage aloud while everyone else follows along & takes notes on their copies. 4) When you're finished, we'll have a discussion where the focus is to address your initial concern(s). You'll probably be the one taking notes at this point! ;) 5) You get the 10x copies back (hopefully w/ lots of notes on them!) when we're done. 6) We try to keep each person's overall critique time to no more than 20 minutes to allow several people a chance to go. --FOOD-- The Southdale Library allows you to bring your own food & drink, provided that you clean up after yourself.

WRITE-IN (weekly)

The Black Dog Cafe

--DESCRIPTION-- Write-Ins are dedicated working time. Bring your current Work in Progress (WiP) and whatever you need to get work done (laptop, pen & paper, headphones, etc). There is always time for a bit of chatting, so look for our table sign & come ready to meet writers & share ideas. Of course, if you'd rather just hide in a corner with your headphones in, blaring "Free Bird" or "Piano Sonata No. 11" while you pound out another 1,500 words, that's cool too. The 10:00 - 2:00 time slot is suggestive only. Some people show up early. Some show up late. Some leave early. Some hang around all day. The point is: Come when you can, for as long as you can. Someone will probably be there to nod & smile at you. --FOOD-- Black Dog Cafe is a business with overhead, employees, lighting, heating, & electricity bills. Their coffee shop offees both drinks & various sandwiches at fair prices. SPWG highly encourages you to support their business whenever attending a meetup.

Past events (38)

WRITE-IN (weekly)

The Black Dog Cafe

Photos (2)