Category: Uncategorized (Page 2 of 3)

September meeting date

The next meeting of Beijing Writers’ Network will take place on Tuesday 13th September, from 7.30-9.30pm, at Zarah.

We will be discussing blogging, sharing our work and offering each other constructive but robust feedback. If you are interested in creative writing you are very welcome to drop by, to meet other writers or just to see what it’s like; there is no need to book. However if you would like to have your work critiqued please email andy@beijingwriters.com, or contact AndyKilleen on WeChat. (Depending on numbers, it may not be possible for everyone to get feedback. Anyone who misses out will be given priority at the next meeting.)

August Meeting Date

The next meeting of Beijing Writers’ Network will take place on Tuesday 9th August, from 7.30-9.30pm, at Zarah.

We will be discussing writing about love, sharing our work and offering each other constructive but robust feedback. If you are interested in creative writing you are very welcome to drop by, to meet other writers or just to see what it’s like; there is no need to book. However if you would like to have your work critiqued please email andy@beijingwriters.com, or contact AndyKilleen on WeChat. (Depending on numbers, it may not be possible for everyone to get feedback. Anyone who misses out will be given priority at the next meeting.)

July Meeting Date

The next meeting of Beijing Writers’ Network will take place on Tuesday 19th July, from 7.30-9.30pm, at Zarah.

We will be talking about editing, sharing our work and offering each other constructive but robust feedback. If you are interested in creative writing you are very welcome to drop by, to meet other writers or just to see what it’s like; there is no need to book. However if you would like to have your work critiqued please email andy@beijingwriters.com, or contact AndyKilleen on WeChat. (Depending on numbers, it may not be possible for everyone to get feedback. Anyone who misses out will be given priority at the next meeting.)

June meeting date

The next meeting of Beijing Writers’ Network will take place on Tuesday 14th June, from 7.30-9.30pm, at Zarah.

We will be talking about how to get published, sharing our work and offering each other constructive but robust feedback. If you are interested in creative writing you are very welcome to drop by, to meet other writers or just to see what it’s like; there is no need to book. However if you would like to have your work critiqued please email andy@beijingwriters.com, or contact AndyKilleen on WeChat. (Depending on numbers, it may not be possible for everyone to get feedback. Anyone who misses out will be given priority at the next meeting.)

May meeting date

The next meeting of Beijing Writers’ Network will take place on Tuesday 10th May, from 7.30-9.30pm, at Zarah.

We will be sharing our work and offering each other constructive but robust feedback. If you are interested in creative writing you are very welcome to drop by, to meet other writers or just to see what it’s like; there is no need to book. However if you would like to have your work critiqued please email andy@beijingwriters.com, or contact AndyKilleen on WeChat. (Depending on numbers, it may not be possible for everyone to get feedback. Anyone who misses out will be given priority at the next meeting.)

On critiquing and editing

A discussion on our WeChat group about etiquette in writers’ groups reminded me of a piece which I wrote in the UK, in response to another blog criticizing the idea of the “praise sandwich” (praise, then criticism, then praise.) Here are some excerpts from it which I think are relevant:

I’d like to begin by drawing a distinction between critiquing and editing. (I know this distinction isn’t universally observed, but I think it’s useful, so bear with me.) To me, editing is what you do with a developed piece of writing, and its purpose is to make that piece as good as it can possibly be. Editing is best carried out by a single person, not a group, and that person should have some experience and knowledge which gives their views authority and objectivity. The purpose of editing is to identify and resolve problems with the piece, not to fluff the writer’s ego.

Critiquing, despite its name, is a different thing altogether: done properly it’s part of an ongoing process aimed at making the writer the best writer they can possibly be. It’s best carried out in groups, because readers are all different, and what one hates another might love; and because it should be predominantly a peer-to-peer process, not a hierarchical one. People in a critique group also put their own writing up for feedback, and so are inclined to be kinder. Good critique takes into account where that individual writer is, and what the next step is for them. If you’re at the beginning of your writing journey, then you generally need encouragement, not having your work ripped apart – because you learn most about writing by writing. So anything that encourages people to write helps them to be better writers, anything that puts them off does not. When you’re in the middle of the first draft of a novel, the most important message is “keep going.”

This isn’t to say that developing writers should be love-bombed with disproportionate or dishonest praise. It”s about finding the positives, and identifying one or two manageable areas for development. It’s about recognising how much people can take, and getting the balance right. It’s about helping people get used to the idea of critique, and preparing them for “professional” editing.

I do teach the “praise sandwich” in my courses. It’s rarely applied so crudely in practice, but it does remind people of the need for balance. Because inexperienced critiquers often get carried away, unleashing their inner literary critic. And if you’ve never shown or read your work to anyone before, it can be a terrifying experience, and one that, handled badly, could put you off writing ever again.

If what you want is editing, then critique groups are always going to disappoint you. To me they’re about developing a supportive community, and helping people learn their craft through practice and discussion. And when your work has been written and revised and rewritten and polished, that’s the time to look for an editor. Because editing is about the writing, and critique is about the writer. Each has their place and time. And sometimes, a praise sandwich is just what you need to keep you going.

Why join a critique group?

With our first meeting approaching, I asked members of my critique group in the UK what they got out of it. Here are some of their responses:

Being new to the world of fiction writing I was quite anxious about reading my first piece of work aloud. The feedback was so positive and constructive that I took on the advice and submitted my first flash fiction piece. It’s a great support network.

 

It’s a fantastic environment full of fantastic people who encourage you and make you feel safe about sharing your work. It’s also inspiring to hear what other people are writing and their process.

 

The group delivered serious critique which encouraged me to write more and better, supported me when that’s been difficult, and built my confidence as a writer.

 

Listening to other people’s work in progress (in many different styles) is a privilege, and members of the group make very thoughtful comments. There’s a spirit of camaraderie, careful listening, encouragement and sincerity.

 

Nobody had read or heard my work before when I first read at the group, and I was anxious that I would be exposed as the fraudulent writer that I was. Instead, I received some of the best advice I could have asked for, and felt good about my work for the first time.
I don’t feel like an expert writer now, and I know there may be no such thing, but all of this group’s advice and critique has in no small part made me feel like I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life, and loving every minute of it.

Why not come along on the 8th March and see what a critique group can do for your writing?

Cate Kennedy’s Top 10 Tips For Writers

1. CLEAR A SPACE

For the moment, try to forget about marketability, prizemoney, fame, fortune, or who’s going to play you in the miniseries. None of these spurs will actually allow you to write a better story as you’re sitting staring at the blank page. Instead, try to visualise your unwritten story as something to approach with a respectful curiosity, something you need to pick up carefully in both hands.

2. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION

You’re going to spin this out of thin air, so let your subject matter creep up on you from wherever it comes from, and permit yourself the playful mental spaciousness to pay it some non-judgemental, sustained attention. Get a good look at it.

3. UNPLUG YOUR INTERNET CONNECTION

There is nothing in the world you need to research or investigate at this moment, except what’s already bumping around in your head. Do yourself the favour of turning off the external, distracting stimulus for once. You don’t need more information – you need to see the patterns in what is already there.

4. TRUST THE POWER OF THE STORY

Don’t worry too much about where it’s going, or the direction it’s taking you in. This is not a cerebral, analytical process. Your rapier-sharp judgment and compulsive need to solve it all can come into play later. Just trust that you will, at some stage, come to see the story that is emerging in what you are writing.

5. YOU ARE AT YOUR MOST POWERFUL WHEN YOU ARE AT YOUR MOST VULNERABLE

Feeling hesitant, nervous, queasy almost, about the raw revelation needed to give away your deepest secrets? That’s the way. Sit tight.

6. ENGAGE NOW, DETACH LATER

Try to see this as a two-stage process – the hot stage and the cool stage. That egotistical little voice on your shoulder, whispering about control and competence, whining for your attention? Gag them for the moment. They’ll have plenty of time to show off later, when you’re redrafting and have achieved, through this process, a little more detachment from your work. For now, plunge in. Nobody’s watching – you’re allowed to skinny-dip.

7. GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY

Don’t overthink this. A story is an offer, not a claim. Writing with something to prove – your extensive vocabulary, your arcane bits of knowledge, your cleverness – will trip you up like clown shoes. Learning to write wholeheartedly instead will let you gradually burn away the lurking pretention and self-regard which will choke your story to death.  Your inner voice is the one that has true pitch; your ego-ridden voice is dangerously tone-deaf.

8. COMPASSION AND A GOOD MEMORY

An unbeatable combo for storytellers and writers keen on getting better.

9. PREPARE TO FIND THIS TIRESOME

Here’s the thing – at the other side of your boredom (and disillusion, and aggrieved sense of entitlement) lies your better, more honest self and your stronger, more powerful story. Mastering your distracted restlessness will get you there, solitary minute by solitary minute.

10. THERE’S MORE THAN TEN TOP TIPS

as you’ll quickly find as soon as you get to the end of your first draft. Stories are living, breathing entities; they refuse to be corralled by aphorism. So…

11. KEEP GOING ANYWAY

until you no longer get a stitch every time you try, until you feel like sharing it, until it becomes its own reward. By then, it’ll be knitted into your DNA, so it’ll be too late to even consider giving up.

Source: http://theincblot.blogspot.sg/2010/11/cate-kennedys-top-10-tips-for-writers.html

Ten ways to get writing

1-4, 6, 8, 10: good advice.

5,7,9: terrible advice.

Ten Ways to Get Writing

3 Questions to Ask When Considering Self-Publishing

Some useful thoughts on routes to publication here… but however you’re published, all writers need to be entrepreneurs these days!

3 Questions to Ask When Considering Self-Publishing

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