Friday, June 24, 2011

An Open Invitation

Do you run or are you a member of another writing, critique, or marketing group located in Washington County, Oregon? If so, please leave a comment so we can add you to our list of other local groups. We know finding the right group can be a challenge and are happy to help!

Also, are there any writing events in Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Beaverton, Tigard, Tualatin or the other communities in the county? It sure would be fun to go to some readings of other local author's work and support our fellow Washington County writers!

Digital Book Publishing Models to the Rescue -- WIRED

Some new techniques on self-publishing electronically from WIRED magazine.

Thanks for the link, Mike!

July Meetings

We are planning to meet on 14 and 28 July at the usual time and place.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Writing vs Critique vs Marketing Groups

In reading up about successful writing groups, I've learned that there is a definite difference between a writing group and a critique group though often these two phrases are used interchangeably by newer writers. First some definitions:

Writing Group -- Think of this as a support group for writers. Members might be new to the field or new to a genre. Or they may have been writing for years. However, these groups focus more on actually writing and may spend part of their meetings writing as a group, and yes, this can mean everyone contributing to a single piece of work as well as everyone working on their own work in communion with their fellow writers. Sharing of work happens but generally comments are of a supportive nature (what works) and seek to spur the writer on and nurture the muses. For some these groups can be an antidote to the "lonely life of a writer."

Critique Group -- Again, while experience may vary from starting out to already published, members of these groups tend to be interested in making their work better. They regularly submit their work to the group for comments with the hope that the work will not only be praised, but that members will point out issues and areas needing improvement. A good group will stay focused on improving the author's story by looking at plot, scene, voice, character, flow, and maybe even some punctuation, grammar, and spelling.

Marketing Group -- Sometimes called a Networking Group, these groups are focused on pooling information and resources to help writers send queries or make a piece more marketable. Members share leads on agents, contests, and publishers. But probably most helpful is supporting each other as rejection letters arrive or, better yet, responding to revision letters. And with the increase in self-publishing, these groups will grow increasingly important since writers will have be their own marketing department.

Each group serves a different purpose and like much in the world, actual groups do not adhere rigidly to any given category. Some members may be looking more for support while others critique. As groups work together for months and years, some members may be wrapping up a project and preparing to shop it around while others are still trying to work the kinks out of a novel or play.

No group is categorically better than another -- they serve different purposes. The key is finding the right group for you and your writing needs.

So what kind of group is Westside Writers?

Westside Writers is a critique group with a bit of support thrown in for good measure. In time, we'll probably talk more about marketing, but currently members are still working on making projects better. We are a fiction group though members work in a number of genres. Some are writing novels; some, short stories; but all have novels planned for the future.

The bulk of our meetings is spent on critiquing each others work, but we always check in to see how the stories are progressing. We also share information about helpful websites, conferences, and books we've come across.

However the key ingredient is that Westside Writers is all about helping an author improve the piece being discussed using positive suggestions. But at the end of the day, we recognize that the author has final say on what changes are made to the work.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Meeting Update, Thursday, 9 June, 6:30pm

We will meet at 6:30pm on Thursday the 9th of June.

Our next meeting will be at 6:30 on Thursday 23 June.

Location information

Mapping Assistance

I have tried to create a map to help you find our meetings. However, I've had little luck working with either Google or Yahoo Maps.

I managed to download a satellite map from Washington County's online mapping tool Intermap and added an "X" and "7-11", but it still seems pretty difficult to read. Plus I'm almost be willing to swear that the satellite data is a bit dated. You can view it here.

I may try and draw a map in the future or if anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.

Also, let me know if this map helps any.