Writing Circles


Yesterday we had our monthly writers’ circle. We always start off with a 20 minute writing exercise, just to get us in the mood. Then we move onto either workshopping each other’s stories or discussing things like contracts or agents or whatever a member happens to bring up. And of course we couldn’t survive without tea and muffins.

I wanted to have a crucial chapter in my YA novel workshopped- a turning point when my character realises she can’t rely on anybody but herself. I used what I had written in the writing exercise and inserted it into the chapter before I read it out aloud. Usually I don’t come up with anything of value, but somehow that particular exercise was just right and made the chapter a whole lot stronger.

I wanted to know how the chapter should end, and after the reading, the problem was solved very simply by the group in one paragraph. What might have taken me a day to figure out, took only a few minutes.

It is hard to stand back from your work. Sometimes you need to turn the binoculars around and look through the other end, to take a step back and see everything from a distance. A writing circle can do this.

Our meeting lasts for about 2 hours and by the end of it, we are all mentally exhausted. We’ve entered the world of imagination, crossed oceans, landed in strange places, met weird and wonderful people. I can’t wait for the circle to come around again.

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