What we’re about
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Are words your continual passion? If so, how about committing to their production! The Worcester Writers Group may be able to help you.
Are you a well adjusted adult? A person hearty enough to survive the rigors of giving and receiving honest and useful critique? Can you commit to regular meetings? Writing schedules? Reviews and rewrites? Can you be accountable to other people? If so, read on.
Poetry, short stories, novels, articles and essays are examples of projects you might try with us. Are you a nervous novice? Or a published professional? We welcome all skill levels.
First Amendment: Thou shalt be at least 21 years old.
Second Amendment: Thou shalt put in at least three months of critique effort before thou can submit your work for being critiqued.
Links will be available to WWG members in event announcements or email Bryan directly for links at email@example.com if you have any issues:
WWG docs are at Worcester Writer's Group Google Drive.
Ongoing Zoom Meeting. Find this in 'Discussions'.
'Glass Box' method. We go around the room, each member has three (3) minutes to offer their notes to a monthly submitter in turn. No response is expected by the writer being critiqued during those three minutes.
Here are some ideas to consider for writing and submitting a critique. Any other points that anyone would like to add please let me know and I'll include them! We're all here to become stronger writers, and to help others become better writers.
-- Help the WWG help your writing. Submit your document in a Word compatible format, Times New Roman / 12 point font double-spaced. With page numbers. Max Word Count / Page Numbers: ~8000 words/30 pages.
-- Please put your name and a title in the doc name. This helps people find who's submitted what on the WWG Google drive.
-- Consider the ‘Oreo cookie’ method of presenting a constructive critique. Say something positive like, ‘I liked this story because your dialogue was realistic/great world building/clear setting/showed feelings well’. Then: ‘I’d revise the info-dump on page 7 and scan for punctuation. Your character seemed unlikable to me’. Then: Your CD was great with the cliffhanger at the end and I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes’.
-- Point of View (POV). Keep POV consistent within a paragraph. It’s ok to switch POV to another character usually with a clear scene break and new paragraph. This may not apply to third person omniscient.
-- Author's voice. Is the author's voice unique and original, or does it sound familiar or derivative? If the writing reminds a reader of Tolkien, S. King, Douglass Adams, or E.E Cummings or anyone else out there then it needs work. That being said, it's ok to be inspired by your favorite authors.
-- Character development (CD) and likability. Can readers empathize with or identify with the main character (MC). If the character is ethically ambiguous, is there a redemption arc or something else about the character that makes them likable.
-- Emotion. This ties in with CD; does the character express emotion in a way that connects with the reader? Show don't tell.
-- Conflict. Does the conflict make sense or does it feel artificial?
-- Story and plot flow. Does the story have a solid beginning that hooks the reader with a well developed middle and a satisfying end? This may apply to a single chapter, with a cliffhanger at the end that makes the reader want to go on to the next chapter even though they’ve got to get up for work the next morning!
-- Setting and world building (WB). Can Hollywood build a set based on a detailed and descriptive prose? This may especially apply to Fantasy and Science Fiction, but keep it in mind for any fiction. Contemporary fiction is all about show and not tell, so can the reader easily see the world through the eyes of the MC.
-- Are character background or setting descriptions more suited for the author notes, or can they be revised to show via dialogue or peppered throughout the paragraph?
-- Stylistic guidelines. Each line of dialogue gets its own line. Avoid ‘stream of consciousness’ info-dumps and run-ons. Ask ‘Is this the best possible way to write this sentence?’ Spell out numbers less than 101.
-- Scan for author intrusion, wordiness, clichés, and colloquialisms; except in dialogue. People speak however people speak.
-- Proofread and edit for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Use the Word Spellcheck and turn everything on. Some things to think about are double spaces between sentences, properly—formatted m-dash, and properly . . . formatted . . . ellipses. No rough, raw first drafts. Give us your best effort, tempered and polished, so we can delve into the real content, without getting distracted by errors and discrepancies. It doesn't have to be perfect--but it shouldn't be straight from your brain to the page.
-- Please allow your fellow writers ample time to review your work (we have lives, too). Post your submission as soon as possible after the meeting when you are selected to submit (minimum of one week before your scheduled critique).
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Before applying also keep in mind that membership of the group entails approximately 4-6 hours of reading and critiquing. It also adds another 2-3 hours spent in meeting when the writers get together for exchanging the critiques every month. Members who are not able to make it to the meeting may upload their critiques but writers being critiqued must be present for the meeting.
We require hard work, commitment, and a measurable respect for others.
Blowhards, belligerents, or the mean spirited need not apply.
Most of all, HAVE FUN!