This last Fall, a friend of mine, Sue Zall, talked me into joining a project she’s been putting together. It’s called Writer’s Infusion. She got the idea after joining the writers group I attend, Walpole Writers Group, or WWG.
Sue hadn’t been part of a writers group before and but she knew it would be a great help to her writing. She found us through a librarian who told her about our meetings at the local Barnes and Noble.
The WWG is unusual in its longevity. Most writers groups don’t last more than a year or so. Personality conflicts develop, or people decide they don’t have enough time. There are lots of reasons. I suspect it’s because a lot of writers groups seem to ask a great deal of their members. Many ask the members to read and comment on 50-100 pages of material a week.
At Walpole Writers Group, we keep it simple. We meet at the local Barnes and Noble every Tuesday evening and each of us brings something we’re working on. We limit the work to 4-7 pages, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. (So we’ll have space to write notes.) The writer is expected to bring enough copies for everyone. Then, we go around the table, letting each person read what they’ve brought.
While the reader is reading, the rest of us are marking up our copies, correcting grammar, fixing spelling, or making notes where we think something is unclear. Afterwards, we have a short discussion in which we tell the author what we think of the writing. (It’s important that the discussion stays focused on just the writing. Comments about other subjects are not allowed.)
For whatever reason, the WWG has been around for at least a dozen years. We’re not sure exactly how long it’s been, since we no longer have an original member in the group.
Sue decided she’d like to bring the benefits of our writing group to the Internet, so she built the web site, www.writersinfusion.com, and then recruited some of us from the WWG to be critiquers. (All the critiquers have been writing for ten years or more and most have been in the WWG that long.)
Here’s how it works: If you want to submit some writing, you go to the submission page on the site and fill out the form. If we select your work, and you’re local, we’ll invite you to come on the show. Before we tape, the critiquers will read the submission and make notes. (This makes the critiquing part go a lot faster.) If you, as a writer, comes to the show, we’ll allow you to read your work. If you’d prefer, we have someone read it for you. During the critique, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions of the critiquers. We videotape the whole thing and post it on YouTube. Each episode is about 15 minutes long.
None of what we’re doing ever costs the writer a penny.
In the future, we hope to get some established writers to sit in, help critique, and maybe talk about how they edit their own work.
The Writer’s Infusion site launched shortly after the new year, and so far we haven’t made complete fools out of ourselves. This last Saturday, we shot several more episodes which will be posted soon.
So, if you’re a writer, or you know a writer, please pass on the word about Writer’s Infusion.
A lot of people help make Writer’s Infusion possible, including the Walpole Writers Group, the Walpole Public Library and Walpole Community Television.