“Jerry’s gotta’ go!”
“Well, what if he’s caught by a bounty hunter?
“Jerry doesn’t seem like the sort who would be chased by a bounty hunter. That doesn’t make sense!”
“Are you kidding me? He’s a total grifter. He could have court dates, he might have skipped on unpaid child support, any number of issues that have tripped him up. Okay, he’s handsome, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a total chump, a loser.”
“Why does slick-backed hair and a hounds tooth suit always spell handsome to you?”
“Hey! Be nice to me!”
“I’m telling’ you, he’s gotta’ die.”
“He’s running with that sociopath, Billie. She could set him up, she’s the type!”
“Look, there are fifteen ways to kill a guy!”
Someone over at the next table cleared their voice – loudly. We all looked over. The members of ‘The Ladies Writing Club of Perrinville’ had caught the attention of a man dressed head to toe in cowboy clothes. Yep! He was sitting in OUR café, wearing the boots, the Stetson, and the suede. Just sitting there. . .sipping his mud.
Nicki called over to him in that sweet lilt of hers. “It’s okay! We’re writers!”
Maybe it was the disappointment of realizing he had NOT stumbled onto a conspiracy for real murder that caused his sudden departure, but it wasn’t more than five minutes before the cowboy was sauntering out of The Corner Coffee Bar & Café. I think I heard him utter, “Humph,” before he pushed through the swinging door out into the drizzle of another murky Pacific Northwest day.
“Now there’s a character for one of our stories,” Maureen suggested.
“Right, the lonesome cowboy,” Gretchen agreed. Or maybe she wasn’t in agreement, maybe she was being sarcastic. Or sardonic. That’s the thing about writing. . .one word – or the turn of a phrase – changes the direction, the mood, even the outcome of a story.
I joined ‘The Ladies Writing Club of Perrinville’ eighteen months ago at Paddy’s invitation. A well-established group, ‘The Ladies’ have been meeting for the past eight years. The catalyst for the group’s formation was the Write On The Sound conference, held each October in lovely Edmonds, Washington, located on the shores of Puget Sound.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics website indicates there are 145,900 professional writers in the United States. http://www.bls.gov/ooh/Media-and-Communication/Writers-and-authors.htm. But, the number of hobbyist writers, independent authors, and writers not on a third-party payroll probably numbers in the millions. In countless groups across America members are typing, editing, musing over, rearranging and sharing wildly imaginative plot lines. There are various ways to form, or find, a writer’s group. I have seen respondents sought on the website, MeetUp. Even CraigsList has postings for writers. Contacting local arts and entertainment writers, writer’s conferences, and professional writer’s organizations are ways in which one might find a group of writers to join.
Writer’s clubs are grist for potato chip commercials – the wars between the sexes – and so much more. They represent community, friendship, creativity, and one of the most important social ingredients – trust.
Why trust? Because as Gina Barreca, Ph.D. points out in her article relating to “Snow White Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”, the most distinguishing characteristic of a ‘real writer’ is the willingness to take criticism and rewrite their work. And, there is no better source of criticism for a writer than a writer’s group. That heart-warming ‘care about you’ attitude, comprised of half praise, half critique that one receives from the interactions of a writer’s group is a necessary nutrient if one is to grow as a writer.
Want to advance your skill and style as a writer? Get feedback. Whether you meet on-line or at the local café. . .join a writer’s club. The brainstorming, the laughter, the outrageous manipulations of storylines that takes place in a group setting is invaluable when processing just HOW a character is gonna’ die!
Are YOU a member of a writer’s group? If not, how do You get feedback on Your writing?
What do you think of the editing, re-write process that goes with writing? Over done, or under utilized?