I’m a local professional writer who writes and edits in the speculative fiction genre (scifi, horror, slipstream, steampunk, silkpunk, afrofuturism, etc).
At the beginning of 2020, I created a group similar to the North Seattle SciFi and Fantasy Writers group and the Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers group, which are both groups with the mindset of helping writers improve and grow as professionals so they can see their work in print and reach their goals.
There is a workshop/tutorial component to the group where one of the members will help the others learn an aspect of the craft they are good at. For instance, if there’s a writer that kills it when it comes to dialogue, then that writer spends one of the meetings helping others learn how they write dialogue while practicing it. This harkens back to the old adage: If you can’t explain it, then you don’t understand it. It’s great for helping writers master and understand their craft while helping other writers. On days when no one wants to do it, we pick an aspect of craft and do a workshop on it. That has been what we usually do, with some occasions when writers take the lead of a workshop and gather resources and examples for the others.
This is different than a lot of writing groups in the area because our workshops are about challenging ourselves with deliberate practice, so that we can become better writers through more than just writing but learning. A few past topics we’ve covered with our workshops have been flash fiction, description, openings, middles, speculative elements, and more.
We also have a decompression component where we don’t write and just shot the shit talking about how our writing is going, cool books we’ve read, new ideas that are stealing us away from our current WIP, etc.
Ultimately the goal and aim of this group is to make people better writers, so that they can reach their career goals. That type of learning and growing of craft doesn’t work for people who are hobbyists or only write for their own entertainment. Writers who come to the group and participate are there to learn and grow and become published authors whether that’s full-time or part-time. This group is great for beginners and pros (we have both!) but not so much for hobby writers or people who like to journal due to the scope and shape of it.
The schedule is like this:
- First Friday- Critiques
- Second Friday- Workshop/tutorials
- Third Friday- Critiques
- Fourth Friday- Decompress and talk shop
- Occasional Fifth Friday- Workshop/tutorials
Our next meet up is this Friday, and it’s our decompression session where we just meet up and talk about craft, books, and the writing life.