Protocol for Writers Unlimited Meetings
A few guidelines for meaningful and helpful critique sessions in meetings:
The weekly meetings are valuable for authors of all genres and levels. The group provides support and networking within its circle of writer friends. Not all members can attend all the time, and not all writers will have their work reviewed. About three to four writers are reviewed within a 3-hour session. That’s about 45 minutes per person.
The writer will have at least 7 copies of a manuscript excerpt or complete story/essay/script to share within the page limit (no more than 10 double-spaced pages at 12 font Times New Roman – with pages numbered and the writer’s name in the header), or no more than 4 poems. The writer, or a designated writer in the circle, reads 10 pages aloud. There is a short, 10-minute quiet writing session for comments and responses to the work. Then, participants will take their turn around the circle, each pointing out places in the material the author is sharing with us and what we think he/she is up to. Then, we will point out what is not assisting the author in his/her purpose and how the work may be improved.
Keep in mind that we will try to have a few minutes of quiet written comments on the writer’s manuscript pages after he/she reads, in response to a fiction/nonfiction chapter or story read aloud by the writer (8-10 pages max), before we start discussing. This is valuable for offering insightful, reflective comments.
It’s a seriously friendly group and we aim to keep it that way. Reviewers may prefer not to speak in feedback, opting to have the written comments suffice. If a listener/reader has any other comments that are not covered by anyone around the table after everyone has had a turn, then he/she can bring it up. Otherwise, be sure commentary is written into the comments at the end of the work.
Writers are not to defend or explain their writing being reviewed. They listen and may ask for clarification. Manuscripts are returned to the author immediately. Be sure your name is on it and date reviewed. Also add an email so the writer can contact you regarding comments, if needed.
Please be sure to note any grammatical/spelling/usage errors in written form, which is not necessary as discussion material and should be left out of oral feedback. The Ning is a great place to edit the work manually.
See you second and fourth Monday nights, 6-9 pm, at the Volunteer Center of Calaveras County in San Andreas, and/or first and third Monday mornings from 9-11:30 am, at Manzanita Arts Emporium: 1211 S. Main St., Suite 110, Angels Camp, CA.
Don’t forget to contact us by email or phone and let us know if you cannot make it, especially if you are scheduled to bring work to read firstname.lastname@example.org and 209-728-6171. Give a couple of days notice, please, and notify us early if you were up to read and cannot make it, as we won’t always check email the time prior to meeting. Normally, we have anywhere from 6 to 10 people at the evening evenings and 5 or so in the morning meeting.
The Manzanita Writers Press Ning site is an online closed membership group among MWP writers and those affiliated with the press for members to critique work in a shared space, post news and articles on craft, and more. Please remember it’s a private setting among the group members. There are about 40 writers who may view your comments. If you would like to join the Writers Unlimited group, membership fees are $35 a year and you are eligible to join the Ning site. The facilitator will invite you by email, so watch for the request to join the group. Keep your password handy somewhere as it is difficult to retrieve.
Looking forward to seeing you at the meetings!