Writing Group Experience


I promised myself I was going to try to be more positive minded this week. I have been working on that, but this post might not reflect such.

I joined a writer’s group about six weeks ago.  This has a little to do with my personal insecurities. I seriously want to hone my skills before I put another work out there. I sit at my computer all day and pound out words. There is no one here to critique. When I go back to read it, it all makes sense. My husband says it is engaging and interesting, but what does he know, right?

Six weeks ago, this writers group met and I got to know everyone, but the venue was noisy and crowded. Not much was accomplished beyond getting introduced. We chatted awhile on everyone’s current projects, and it was mentioned that they are on chapter seven of a chain story that could be found in the files of the meet up group online.

I never made the time to read the chain story. I haven’t been in touch with anyone since that first meeting, as I missed the last meeting two weeks ago.  They picked a new venue with a private room and much quieter, so it was decided that everyone would bring a short piece of their work to read; only I did not know about this decision, so I came empty handed last night. I was ill-prepared but they were forgiving.

The members are all at varying levels of progress. Some are fledglings and some are published. I got to listen to others read and the varied writing styles as a whole were quite remarkable. They are supportive and kind to one another and I feel comfortable. Again raise my insecurities. We all provided useful information to help each other out while remaining kind and supportive. It was a great feeling and I regretted not having any of my own work to share. This would have been a wonderful time to ask those questions my husband can’t answer about my first chapter.

Is it a good opening paragraph? Is it too much exposition? Do I wait too long to get to the action? Is it showing the history of chaos the two sisters grew up in? Does the back story and history get too tedious?  Is it necessary? Am I telling the story rather than showing how these characters are relating to one another? Do you see fairly clearly and quickly the beginning of development of the character personalities?  Namely the mother and two daughters? Is it engaging enough to make you want to know more about the characters and the story?

I have a good story, can I master the execution to make it a great story?

This is the beginning of a novel, not a short story, so it may be more spread out, more in-depth than a short story. Does it work?

I have two weeks to wait for the next meeting.

I plan to forge ahead, knowing that all the questions in my mind, when answered, may force a rewrite, and at the same time, might be just fine.

My insecurities. I can’t deny that I am in a place of self-doubt.

Should I rewrite my first chapter until I have no more questions?

What do you think? Leave it alone until we meet again, or work on fixing what I have doubts about?

35 thoughts on “Writing Group Experience

    1. I have four chapters already and this is chapter one. I am wanting it to be perfect. It is the opening to the entire novel. So I have slept on it a long while now. I have also reread it a hundred times, and I still have questions/doubts. Maybe I should forge ahead and leave it alone until I get farther along and see where it goes from here.


      1. I think that is the best plan because as things change towards the end of your novel, you’ll want to make some adjustments at the beginning (if that makes sense). Breathe deeply and write on! 😀


  1. Forge ahead. I agree with Green Embers. As you move forward, you may want / need to change that first chapter in some way. I like to tinker as I go but find it much less time-consuming to simply dump onto the page until you’ve empty. Then you see the overall picture better and can tinker better afterwards. But, you must do what works best for you. :-).


    1. Thanks Rosie. They were very direct about what corrections needed to be made in each other’s work. But they were tactful and kind about their opinions, which gave me a good feeling. I will read at the next meet up.

      I think I am going to leave my first chapter alone for now and see what they have to say about it in two weeks.Move along and look back later 🙂


    1. Thanks Audrey. Thoughts and prayers help at times like these. My confidence recently got smashed, a couple of times. It is funny how hundreds of words of praise can be ripped down by one inarticulate sentence of crap.


  2. If it were me, I’d write new words and put the first chapter away. That way you’re doing something positive and not guessing what they may say. Remember, some of them may say opposing things. If several of them point out an issue, they’re probably right.


    1. Good point. I am leaving it alone for now. I have this yearning for everything to go well from the start. I think it comes from my nursing background. You don’t always get second chances to save someones life. This is NOT critical…nobody is going to die if I don’t get this quite right from the start 🙂


  3. I would keep going and leave the first chapter alone. If you get some insight on it that makes you find a way to solve any insecurities you have with it then go ahead, but a total rewrite might be too much at this stage. It’s entirely possible that the questions will be answered as you continue writing, so it will take on a more natural feel. Honestly, first chapters tend to be a little awkward and ungainly during the first draft.


    1. I’m feeling it also. I feel like it is so much setting and character development that it might end up being scratched entirely as the character development phase of the novel building rather than chapter one. If that makes any sense. Then again, it may make perfect sense, as my husband believes, to leave it in place. He feels the writing is engaging, which was part of the objective. We shall see.


  4. Every time I sit down to write I go back one or two chapters to refresh my memory – You know – the age thing! LOL I always find myself rewriting, adding, deleting before I actually get to the task I sat down to do. If I didn’t I would forget what I intended change. I’m just hoping it saves a little time when I do sit down with the whole story in hand to begin the editing. If I went back to my first Chapter today I would probably rearrange things a little. I say – when a thought hits you – go with it! Sometimes that happens in the middle of the night when I’m too tired to crawl out of bed. 😉


    1. Or driving the car..anywhere you can’t jot it down. Later you remember a word or two that you meant to convey, but you’ve somehow lost that perfect phrase and can’t find it anywhere in the mental filing cabinet. Yes, I too relate.


  5. Step away from it for a while. Then make revisions on the parts you yourself have doubts about. Then you will have 2 versions, which will result in another quandary OR a better draft! Either way, you win. But FIRST, let it marinate for a bit.


    1. It has been marinating for a few weeks now. I need to do something or move on. Good advice though. I do have to do that…set it aside and come back with a new eye…which is why I am now in this quandary.


  6. I’ve learned that there’s no such thing as perfect. Ever. But if you feel good about a para, you’re on track. Change what your gut feelings tell you to change and take what feedback you believe to be constructive and what you feel will work for your novel..


    1. The biggest problem I am having is telling about the past rather than showing about the present. It is the first chapter and rather than jumping right into the story I spent a lot of time explaining what happened to make things the way that they are. It is amateurish and I want to fix it.


    1. I did something today with it that I had not planned to do. There was an information dump of back story and familial history. I pulled that out and created two scenes that provide the same information, but in a more immediate and accessible manner. I like it better.


      1. That kind of change I can live with … it sounds like you went from telling (information dump) to showing (creating scenes). That’s a good change.


  7. I’m glad to hear you connected with a group! I’ll be going to my first meetup with a new group soon (as long as it doesn’t get snowed out), and I’ve got my own list of questions burning for answers. As far as revision goes, I always say: “Go with your gut!” If you’re really not sure, it’s best to sleep on it as someone mentioned above, but if you let it rest a few days and feel the same way–make those changes. 🙂


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