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South Minneapolis Writing Group

Posted on Sat, Dec 9 2017 1:48 am by Edmond Manning

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Looking to join an existing novel writers' group or to start one.

I published eight books and am looking similar commitment levels to both publishing and writing. I would like to work with others who have researched publication strategies,  who have paid for professional editors, take classes on the craft of writing, read fiction for fun and learning, as well as good ol' appreciators of melodious, twirling-on-tippy-toe words, pirouetting into gorgeous sentences. I love beautiful sentences. Do you?

Cool.

If you're interested, I hope you're also skeptical, thinking, "Sounds good, but I would quit before loitering in a group spending six months trying to get serious." Me too. That's the type I want to work with. You have goals. The group helps you get there or you're not wasting time with it.

God, I sound super Type A.

Not my intention. In fact, I have a bunch of dirty dishes in the sink. I made homemade pizza tonight in my toaster oven and there are little globs of pesto and browned mozzarella cheese on the counter. So, not too uptight. Truth, I'm a little nervous about hooking up with other writers. I've been in groups where half the people say, "I don't have time to meet this month. Work has been crazy." 

I've also been in groups with lazy critiquers who said, "Liked it," and after empty praise that proved they read the words (but not very closely) offered no value. Others who didn't understand saying, "I didn't like this," isn't helpful as feedback without oodles of support. In fact, maybe steer away from saying, "I don't like this/I like this." Let's let others gush and feed the ego. Instead we will focus on improvement (while also celebrating with, "Great job" to good sentences and skilled rewrites).

Providing feedback is an art form, and I want people who follow guidelines. I have ideas based on past workshops and groups, but we should work through that together. I want our group to offer constructive insights into characterization, plot, word choice, subtext, how frequently we begin sentences begin with "There...", alliteration, symbolism, character names, etc. Everything that feels honest and necessary to push each other's stories into better territory. We have to be honest and say the things that could be mentioned later in unflattering reviews. 

But there will be times to back off and let the author run with their vision. Can you respect a writing style different from your own? I find it challenging to do so, but essential. Let's try together. Let's make each other better writers.

Oh. This could matter. I'm writing a novel based on a Christian Bible story. I am not a Christian. I just think this is going to be a kick-ass story. I guess I feel it necessary to relay this because my content could influence your interest. Jesus is a character in my novel and I do my best to honor his wisdom as a unique and powerful man, but I do not portray him as (or deny he is) the Christian savior. He's a guy in my book. I need you to be okay with that.

If you read this much and are still not put-off by my Type A, hippie-dippie, non-religious, growth-mindset-oriented approach, email me. See what we have in common. And not have in common! I'm not looking for clones of me. We will grow from each others' unique perspective.

Earlier in 2017, there was a LOFT community posting for a writing group that sounded perfect. They had a pre-joining process where interested parties were required to read 600 words and critique it. Existing members of the group would review the critique to see if the wanna-be-joiner knew how to give appropriate feedback. That kind of intention really appeals to me. They were serious about their craft. If you've been in writing classes, you know not everyone is automatically a great fit together. No shame in that. 

Wow this was long. 

Edmond