I am involved in a writers group… I think every writer new and old should join one at times in their writing lives, mostly because the feedback is invaluable whether you agree with it or not.
I recently re-joined the Charm City Writers group and at our last meeting it was great to read and comment on my cohort’s work and have them read and comment on mine…. BUT I will admit, that when you are sending your work to a member who is not in attendance to the meeting for feedback, it gets a little difficult.
There are several reasons for this:
- They aren’t face to face and face to face communication is best, especially when what is being discussed is near and dear to the parties involved (My work is like my children to me… Precious)
- They aren’t able to get immediate feedback as to why things are written the way they are; for instance when we meet, there are ALWAYS questions asked around the table about why the character is doing or saying things in the manner in which they are and they can be addressed and clarified for the reader – only because we are only reading a snippet of the entire work unless it is a short story.
- That leads me to the next and final point, they are only reading a snippet of an entire work in a void. This complicates matters unless this snippet is introduced thoroughly and some background information is given which, unfortunately, as it stands now is not required when sending the work to the cohort.
All in all, as I stated initially, writer’s groups are beneficial to every writer at some point in their writing career, BUT the ground rules for absentee critique must be clear and give the absent party some in depth information about what they are reading if it is not a complete work.