a while ago I was advised that as a writer my career would benefit from joining a writers group. I dutifully sought out what was considered the best in the area I live in and asked if I could join. My partner and I, she is also writing a book, went along for our first meeting and were dazzled by the array of talent on display. We were so impressed by them that we came away thinking we did not belong there. As time went on though our opinions changed and we felt more at home.
It was a typical writers group in the respect that there were the usual characters present that are listed in various posts about writers groups, anyone who has seen one of these or is a member of such a group will understand what I mean. The longer we were there though our opinions began to alter as to the validity of our taking part in such a group. It wasn’t that we thought were we better than the group, in my opinion their writing skills in the leterary form far out weighed anything I could achieve but it was a difference of opinion in some of the things they said..I disagreed on a few of the points they made but at the time I felt I didn’t have the expertise to back up any argument I could bring to the table. This wasn’t to say that I was wrong either, just that I lacked confidence to argue or to put my point across adequately.
One of the things I disagreed with was a point brought up when reviewing one of the groups work. Their opinion was that the writer introduced the central character too late and that he should be introduced in the first chapter and they argued that this was always the case. Now I know of several best selling authors who introduce their characters after the first chapter and they use the first chapter as a scene setting plot device where something happens and the key character then comes in to either investigate or is involved in some other form. Admittedly these are books that are in a series so strictly speaking the key character is known to most readers and I say ‘most’ as there are always some readers who are new to the series and for them this is a new book entirely.
Another point made, well it was a comment actually and it was made by the head of the group and he said that writers don’t do this sort of thing to get rich, they do it because they love it. I agree and disagree in equal parts. I don’t know of anyone who has written a book or who is about to write a book who doesn’t dream of that book becoming a best seller. It’s what drives us on to pursue excellence in our writing. The group had decided to form their own publishing company who’s motto was that the only limitation was excellence. They told the group that they would take submissions from any quarter and that being a member of the group was not an automatic guarantee of admission, that they would have to go through the submission process just like anyone else. I found it strange that when the company went live that the only books published by them were by founder members of the group and that submissions were closed. I found this to be a remarkable event.
All this aside I found that the advice given out on the whole by the group on writing in general was fundamentally sound and I have benefited greatly it was just that the work read out by other members was not to my taste. I could not see any of the books they were working on ever selling anywhere, so I suppose the comment about never getting rich was a valid point. The market I was, and still am aiming for though is a wider one, one that I hope is filled with people who like the kind of adventures I love to write.
I wish the writing group all the success in the world with all their future endeavours and I have the greatest respect for their talents and skills but for the time being I will go it alone. I think I can concentrate better on the stories I want to tell and if I become a better writer, no doubt it is because of the advice I took on board from their classes.
That’s all for now, see you soon