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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Writers Groups

Don’t go it alone--join a writing community for feedback, encouragement, and information.


Communities:

American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW, formerly American Christian Romance Writers): This is a terrific community of Christian fiction writers, and they also hold an annual fiction writers’ conference. Membership is very inexpensive, and it includes a writers’ discussion email loop, online forum discussion boards, a mentorship program, an email critique group program (small groups of 4-5 writers each), and dozens of helpful writing workshops. Each year, they hold an annual conference and the Genesis contest for unpublished writers.

Faith, Hope, Love chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America): This wonderful group of Christian romance writers provides encouragement and information. There are many published authors who participate on their email loop. They provide a mentorship program, a Finish-the-Book program, and a Guestlink Q&A with published authors. Each year, they have a worship night at the RWA National conference and they hold the Touched By Love contest for unpublished writers.

Steeple Hill eHarlequin.com Community (Inspirational Romance and Women’s Fiction): There are wonderfully encouraging ladies on these discussion boards, including several Steeple Hill authors. Plus, the Steeple Hill editors pop in every so often. They also offer terrific discussion board workshops and chats with authors and the occasional editor.

Writing.com: This is an excellent site for writers who desire feedback on their writing. On this huge site, writers can read stories, poems and articles, post their own pieces, and connect with other writers from practically any genre. There are several tiers of membership, from the basic Free membership to a full Business membership. The site policies, the innovative Gift Points system and the examples of generous community members work to maintain an honest and encouraging critiquing environment. Because the membership is so large, writers get a wide variety of critiques from people who are truly interested in the genre of their piece, and all writers are encouraged to review others in kind. It’s a secular site, so pay attention to the ratings for each piece before reading.

Romance Divas: This website’s discussion board is really hopping. They have lots of discussion topics and are building an archive of writing workshops held by published authors.

Romance Writer’s Community (RWC): There are several writers’ discussion groups run by Charlotte Dillon. RWClist is discussions on writing craft, with weekly Talk Prompts that can spur some very informative posts. RWCcritique is purely novel chapter critiques--you critique two other writers’ chapters for every chapter you submit. RWCprompt is a writing exercise group that responds to weekly writing prompts. RWCchallenge is a forum to set writing goals and encourage others to meet theirs. RWCpromotion is a place to learn how to promote your novel. RWCsocial is for good old chit chat among friends. There is also Romance Readers Community (RRC) to discuss books you’re reading.

Survivor Writer and Mini-survivor Writers: These two Yahoogroups are for accountability and encouragement. For Survivor Writer, each member must write 2 pages a day, or 15 pages a week, or else be removed from the list. In Mini-Survivor Writers, each member must write a page a day, or 7 pages in one week, or else be removed from the list. A new session starts each Monday.
You can also send an email to SurvivorWriter-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or Mini-SurvivorWriters-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Critiquing:

Most writers will agree, the best critiquing will be from trusted critique partners. Some of the writers groups mentioned above offer critique group programs, although sometimes it takes some trial and error to find a good “match” between critique partners. Here are some other opportunities for critiques.



Writing.com: This is an excellent site for writers who desire feedback on their writing. On this huge site, writers can read stories, poems and articles, post their own pieces, and connect with other writers from practically any genre. There are several tiers of membership, from the basic Free membership to a full Business membership. The site policies, the innovative Gift Points system and the examples of generous community members work to maintain an honest and encouraging critiquing environment. Because the membership is so large, writers get a wide variety of critiques from people who are truly interested in the genre of their piece, and all writers are encouraged to review others in kind. It’s a secular site, so pay attention to the ratings for each piece before reading.

Romance Writer’s Community (RWC) Critique: RWCcritique is purely novel chapter critiques--you critique two other writers’ chapters for every chapter you submit.
It is part of Charlotte Dillon’s Main website.
You can also send an email to RWCcritique-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Faithwriters.com is a Christian writing website that also allows for critiquing. It’s a very friendly, helpful atmosphere, and I believe their forum discussion boards are still an active place (it was when I was more active on the website a few years ago). Like Writing.com, it has several tiers of members, including a free one.

WriteRomance: This Yahoo Group is for serious romance writers, including chick-lit. They focus on critiques but have a sister Yahoo Group open only to WriteRomance members where writers can brainstorm and chat.

Critique Circle
: This is an online writing workshop open to all genres and all formats, for writers to give and receive feedback on their work. Membership is free and visibility of critiques can be controlled by the writer for more privacy or security. The site runs on a “credit” system to ensure everyone both receives feedback and participates.

Critters Workshop: This is a huge secular crit group for Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror. Because there are several minors in the group, they do not permit pornographic/erotic material to be submitted.


Conferences:

Although costly, these are great opportunities to attend workshops and meet editors, agents, and other writers. God has led me to terrific friends and given my manuscript proposal exposure to publishing houses and agents without needing to send the requisite query letter first.

Also, editors and agents like to meet writers face-to-face. My guess why is partly to see your faith and partly to make sure you’re not an ax-murderer-type.

American Christian Fiction Writers conference (ACFW, formerly American Christian Romance Writers, location changes each year):
I like this conference the best. There are lots of opportunities to meet writers, agents and editors, and there’s a broad range of excellent workshops and tracks for all levels. All the workshops and speakers are geared specifically for fiction writers and the Christian fellowship is amazing. It’s like a powerful spiritual retreat and a writers’ conference in one.


Mt. Hermon conference center (Santa Cruz, California):
Mt. Hermon is now offering both their popular spring Christian Writers Conference as well as a smaller Christian Writers Clinic Intensive mentoring program in the fall.

The spring conference is for both fiction and nonfiction. It gives a great opportunity to meet writers, agents and editors, and it provides a spectacular free manuscript critique service. The workshops are top-notch, ranging from beginner to professional.

The fall mentoring clinic is intensive and intimate. The one-on-one format and small size give writers an extraordinary learning experience.

Set in the beautiful redwoods, both conferences are lovely isolated retreats.

RWA (Romance Writers of America) National conference (location changes each year):
This gigantic conference can be a bit intimidating, but it has a huge variety of workshops, tons of free books, and informative publisher spotlights. The Golden Heart and RITA awards ceremony is like the Oscars for romance writing. It’s fun and glitzy--definitely a great experience.

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