This is a big thing for me, since I’ve previously battled with about a thousand hang-ups about my writing and the act of letting people read it. There are a select few people who I have let read my work and fewer still who have actually had access to the trilogy I’m currently writing.
There’s something so gut-wrenchingly terrifying about someone you hardly know reading your work, and yet, I realised lately, something so wonderful: they’re entirely objective. They don’t know you, but they do know writing, because they’re doing it too. That’s often the issue with letting “normals” read your work. Non-writers can’t possibly understand some of the things you desperately need them to understand in order to give the accurate and insightful feedback you’re waiting for with bated breath as they turn every page. It’s a writer thing, sometimes, is giving proper feedback to a story still in the process of being written and perfected, and sometimes a reader willing to tell you whether they liked it or not is good—but a writer who can tell you what works and what doesn’t work is great.
I’m nervous about this, naturally, as I’m a very private sort of writer. But, I’m ready for this sort of thing, and I’m very excited to be part of one of two closed writing groups over at Fantasy Faction. Yep, Fantasy Faction. How cool is that, really? I’m psyched about being able to expand my interaction with the guys over there, by being able to do more than just churn out articles and interviews. I’m extremely excited.
I’m more nervous that I’m a little late to the party. The group’s been open a while but I’ve not posted or offered critique yet, since the Dragons (that’s our name—cool, yes?) opened the door—rolled aside the boulder?—smack bang in the middle of the fuss and shock surrounding my little sister. It’s like arriving late to a party and seeing everyone already dancing and having drinks—it’s kind of awkward. But, I’m in with a really great group of people, all dedicated to their own writing, and to helping out their fellow Dragons.
I’ve got good feelings about this, and although I’m nervous, what with never having participated in a writing group, I’m definitely geared up to get stuck in and revel in having like-minded people around me to offer both support and critique.
I used to think writing groups were pointless, but that was perhaps thanks to my time at university, when the critique groups we were subjected to were not split into genre, or market, or anything even remotely useful. Everyone in the group critiqued—when anyone took the time or effort to speak up and not just sit there twiddling their pencils—everyone’s work and it just concluded, every week, as a clumsy mess with no real critique besides “I liked it” handed out. That being my only experience with anything like a writing group gave me a negative first impression.
Then I started reading about writers I admire and adore talking about their writing groups and I decided that these groups couldn’t be all that bad. I didn’t fancy an in-person kind of group, and I didn’t want to wander aimlessly online searching for a group that might not work out. So when Fantasy Faction announced plans for the closed groups, I gave a “hell yeah” and jumped right in.
I’m hoping the experience proves to be a positive one, but with the support lent already after an initial post apologising for an immediate absence, I don’t expect to be disappointed. Not at all.