Hi Fellow Writers!  

I just put up a blog entry on my website (www.annashinoda.com) that discussed several aspects of my writing process, including an organization that I belong to that has been extremely helpful (SCBWI) and what an important part my writer friends who critique my work are in my revising process.

Are there any writer organizations/groups out there that you belong to?  Do you find them helpful?  How about critique groups and your revising process?  Let's discuss!

-Anna

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Replies to This Discussion

Well... I belong to none...

I was going to check out the Unicorn Writer's Conference, here in Connecticut back in April, but, I didn't have $165 to dish out for it. It would've been fun to meet other writers, and shoot the breeze. My only other reason for not going, was, you spend $165 on editing, and then, you go through all that work with them, just so they can profit off of you and show you the door. This is also how some ideas get stolen if they are not copyrighted. A writer I met in college, had this happen to him many times, I feel awful for him.

I, personally, don't really like to involve others in the editing or revision process. I like hearing what people think of my writing in terms of a "fan" so to speak, but, when it comes to editing, I keep things pretty raw. Like, I rarely rewrite stories, usually the first way I wrote it, has the most feeling from me, and I like that a lot. I treat my stories the same way I treat a drawing or painting, so, I just have to go my own way and let my subconscious do the work. If someone says to me to rewrite a sentence a particular way, even if they may be "right", it's not my sentence anymore if I use what they say.

I'm not trying to discourage people from working with an editor or close writer friend, it's just not my cup of tea.
I half agree with Alex.. But her stories and mine are very different. She wrote an entire book.. right, Alex? (Sorry hun, I don't really remember. Love you always.) My story seems never ending and it bugs me, but that means I have a lot of "space" to fill with several ideas. I've got some readers and their reviews and critiques are very helpful, but I don't think a writer organization would mean the same. There's a difference between writer and reader. I think writers are more critical and sometimes they can debase what your readers like anyway. Sometimes my readers give me ideas and I use them so kinda we write it together but 99% of the story is mine. My second life, my shelter to go to. Alex is right about the " it's not my sentence anymore if I use what they say" thing but maybe a reader can help you make it more enjoyable.
I've got a new favorite film about it anyway, Alex & Emma. Alex is a writer and Emma is a stenographer. Alex has a month to finish his new book he didn't even start yet, so he works with Emma. Emma always criticizes him and helps him a lot with the story. It's a very nice film, I recommend it :) Helps me a lot when I don't know where to go with my story.
I'm a scifi/fantasy writer and I do short stories. I haven't gotten published yet, although I have a story shortlisted at the moment. I tried joining a writer's group, but got so bogged down in reading other people's stuff that it interfered with my writing. I think maybe I just need to find a smaller or less prolific group.

Anyway... My best feedback has come from editors. If anyone else out there writes scifi or fantasy short fiction, I'd be happy to pass along the names of a few magazines and e-zines that give you real critical feedback (once in a while, not always) instead of form rejections.

I like getting constructive criticism. I don't mind editing my work, particularly if it's a matter of just changing a plot line to make a story tighter or more logical. It's still MY work, my voice on paper. I understand Alexandra's feelings about keeping things raw and fresh and not over-editing. I always save my original versions in case a re-write goes flat. But I find outside critiques helpful when it comes to tightening a plot or clarifying a character's motivation.
Welcome to the group, darling! Always good to have you around. Yes, my book is almost done. I have to come up with an ending that is appropriate for the story, and nature of characters. I have several that I've come up with, can't decide on which one I like best.

The challenge is, the lead characters, are very much in love, but have not known each very long. Their bond is strong, but premature, too. I am very much into alternate dimensions, and neither of the characters has anything to go back in each of their worlds. Basically, if Charles and Judas stay in the demon world/hell, what will Charles do there? Conversely, if Charles and Judas stay in the human world, what will Judas do there? I have endings for both cases, just can't pick which one I like more... This was supposed to be finished May 31st, and now I remember why I don't give myself deadlines.

Can we call LPfiction.com a legitimate writing community/organization? Because, from duel readers/writers, I've gotten some hefty critiques in the past. (Some which were also immature and rude, but, that's a different story). Some of the writers on LPF are professionals, and have books coming out soon.

I think for, Linkin Park fans, LPF is fun. Fanfiction writing is a good tool. Anna, hun, I don't recommend you go there. You might not want to read about your husband in an imaginary relationship with his bandmates, or being trapped in another dimension, and other things I just won't mention for all of our sanity.

By the way Reenzy, that movie sounds very interesting. Also, I can work on one drawing with another artist, sculpt, paint, and do pretty much any other visual art form with another artist. But write a story with another artist? Can't do it, makes me feel violated. Writing is just too personal for me ;D

Reenzy Bennington said:
I half agree with Alex.. But her stories and mine are very different. She wrote an entire book.. right, Alex? (Sorry hun, I don't really remember. Love you always.) My story seems never ending and it bugs me, but that means I have a lot of "space" to fill with several ideas. I've got some readers and their reviews and critiques are very helpful, but I don't think a writer organization would mean the same. There's a difference between writer and reader. I think writers are more critical and sometimes they can debase what your readers like anyway. Sometimes my readers give me ideas and I use them so kinda we write it together but 99% of the story is mine. My second life, my shelter to go to. Alex is right about the " it's not my sentence anymore if I use what they say" thing but maybe a reader can help you make it more enjoyable.
I've got a new favorite film about it anyway, Alex & Emma. Alex is a writer and Emma is a stenographer. Alex has a month to finish his new book he didn't even start yet, so he works with Emma. Emma always criticizes him and helps him a lot with the story. It's a very nice film, I recommend it :) Helps me a lot when I don't know where to go with my story.
"Anna, hun, I don't recommend you go there. You might not want to read about your husband in an imaginary relationship with his bandmates, or being trapped in another dimension, and other things I just won't mention for all of our sanity."

Agreed! Bennoda fictions are way too much even for me.. lol Some of them are great anyway. The plot drives me crazy but the way they write, the details, the composition is perfect. Sometimes too perfect. A talented writer can get readers hooked, make them imagine the story and I tend to see the scenes as I read the story but.. For God's sake.. I don't wanna see them together. But if I read it as a writer, I often get jealous.. They're talented, maybe they should just change the subject.
So far, I have only read one Bennoda story that I will swear by, because it's just that good. I've read others, and liked them, but wasn't jumping out of my seat for them. I don't write Bennoda stories, by the way ;)

Again, I have only found a few stories on LPF with great composition. I think it's just a nice place for people to hang out and enjoy each other's company. Not a place to go if you are looking for amazing writers who are passionate about it.

Once, I was part of writing.com, but, it's very hard to get noticed there, so, I left. There are some great stories on that site, people really know what they are doing. These are writers who have really developed their styles and spent years doing creative writing.

Reenzy Bennington said:
"Anna, hun, I don't recommend you go there. You might not want to read about your husband in an imaginary relationship with his bandmates, or being trapped in another dimension, and other things I just won't mention for all of our sanity."

Agreed! Bennoda fictions are way too much even for me.. lol Some of them are great anyway. The plot drives me crazy but the way they write, the details, the composition is perfect. Sometimes too perfect. A talented writer can get readers hooked, make them imagine the story and I tend to see the scenes as I read the story but.. For God's sake.. I don't wanna see them together. But if I read it as a writer, I often get jealous.. They're talented, maybe they should just change the subject.
Agreed =)

Alexandra Nofi said:
So far, I have only read one Bennoda story that I will swear by, because it's just that good. I've read others, and liked them, but wasn't jumping out of my seat for them. I don't write Bennoda stories, by the way ;)

Again, I have only found a few stories on LPF with great composition. I think it's just a nice place for people to hang out and enjoy each other's company. Not a place to go if you are looking for amazing writers who are passionate about it.

Once, I was part of writing.com, but, it's very hard to get noticed there, so, I left. There are some great stories on that site, people really know what they are doing. These are writers who have really developed their styles and spent years doing creative writing.

Reenzy Bennington said:
"Anna, hun, I don't recommend you go there. You might not want to read about your husband in an imaginary relationship with his bandmates, or being trapped in another dimension, and other things I just won't mention for all of our sanity."

Agreed! Bennoda fictions are way too much even for me.. lol Some of them are great anyway. The plot drives me crazy but the way they write, the details, the composition is perfect. Sometimes too perfect. A talented writer can get readers hooked, make them imagine the story and I tend to see the scenes as I read the story but.. For God's sake.. I don't wanna see them together. But if I read it as a writer, I often get jealous.. They're talented, maybe they should just change the subject.
Well I feel like a noob while writing this but anyways.I've been writing stories for about 2 years now.I've not been doing that constantly-whenever I have the time and idea to.And I think they're coming out good...and believe me I'm pretty critical to my own work.I write mostly in English-probably 90% of the stuff I write is in English even though I'm Bulgarian.I don't really have anyone to talk to about story lines and writing in general.I guess I could find some writers group or organization on the internet that could help me out but I honestly don't have much clue what to look for.So any suggestions are welcome.I guess my style is kind of horror/thriller feel to it.I can't really say because sometimes my ideas break out that limit...so yeah I'd love to get some suggestions/opinions.On a side note I started writing a book a few months ago but it's coming out really slow which I guess is good because I want everything to be in place there.Oh and btw thank you for starting this thread Anna:)
Yes Valerie... I think it is really important to find the right writer's group. I met all my critiquing writer friends through classes, so we had read each other's work before. Not only did I like what they were writing and their style, but I also liked the way they critiqued. Both of the groups I belong to are small - we all have children or another job and don't have the extra time to spend getting bogged down in critiques. And we have a page number ceiling when it comes to submitting something to the group for critique, making special exceptions when a whole novel is complete and we want group feedback on the whole thing.

I agree that best feedback has come from my agent or editor because they are usually able to point out exactly where the problem areas are stemming from, but my writing buddy critiques have been valuable as well. I never feel like the work is no longer my own after having a critique. Usually I don't use specific suggestions that they may come up with to fix an area. Rather, their critique puts attention on weakness in my writing or the story and their suggestions for fixing it gets my brain turning.

Around draft 6 of my novel, I thought it was done, that there was nothing more that I could possibly improve on. Now I'm on draft 13 and so glad that it wasn't published at draft 6. Hopefully everything I have learned from working on this novel will make the writing process a little tighter on my next novel... maybe then it won't take me over five years to get my next novel written and revised!


Valerie Lost Track said:
I'm a scifi/fantasy writer and I do short stories. I haven't gotten published yet, although I have a story shortlisted at the moment. I tried joining a writer's group, but got so bogged down in reading other people's stuff that it interfered with my writing. I think maybe I just need to find a smaller or less prolific group.
Anyway... My best feedback has come from editors. If anyone else out there writes scifi or fantasy short fiction, I'd be happy to pass along the names of a few magazines and e-zines that give you real critical feedback (once in a while, not always) instead of form rejections.
I like getting constructive criticism. I don't mind editing my work, particularly if it's a matter of just changing a plot line to make a story tighter or more logical. It's still MY work, my voice on paper. I understand Alexandra's feelings about keeping things raw and fresh and not over-editing. I always save my original versions in case a re-write goes flat. But I find outside critiques helpful when it comes to tightening a plot or clarifying a character's motivation.
I typically stay away from fan fictions, but if they inspire people to write and offer a nice community, that can be a good thing.

I just visited writing.com for the first time. Wow there is a ton on that site! It was fun to look around, but I was kind of overwhelmed by it all on the first visit! I can see how it would be difficult to be noticed there with so much going on. Would love to hear if anyone has anything else to chime in about their experience on that site, or others like it.

Reenzy Bennington said:
Agreed =)
Alexandra Nofi said:
So far, I have only read one Bennoda story that I will swear by, because it's just that good. I've read others, and liked them, but wasn't jumping out of my seat for them. I don't write Bennoda stories, by the way ;)

Again, I have only found a few stories on LPF with great composition. I think it's just a nice place for people to hang out and enjoy each other's company. Not a place to go if you are looking for amazing writers who are passionate about it. Once, I was part of writing.com, but, it's very hard to get noticed there, so, I left. There are some great stories on that site, people really know what they are doing. These are writers who have really developed their styles and spent years doing creative writing.

Reenzy Bennington said:
"Anna, hun, I don't recommend you go there. You might not want to read about your husband in an imaginary relationship with his bandmates, or being trapped in another dimension, and other things I just won't mention for all of our sanity."

Agreed! Bennoda fictions are way too much even for me.. lol Some of them are great anyway. The plot drives me crazy but the way they write, the details, the composition is perfect. Sometimes too perfect. A talented writer can get readers hooked, make them imagine the story and I tend to see the scenes as I read the story but.. For God's sake.. I don't wanna see them together. But if I read it as a writer, I often get jealous.. They're talented, maybe they should just change the subject.
Well,hi!I'm Anna.Luckily I'm really glad to say that my little city help us very much.Thanks to a organization called"Hope"or in greek "LPda"We can meet ppl from whole around the world and share ideas.Honestly,I'm writing a book at the moment but not alone...We decided as classroom to join this organization and write our own book.The bad thing about that is we don't always keep our minds together so it's pretty hard to write...Our basic inspiration is the book named "De profundis"if u've ever heard about it.It's pretty interesting but somehow we all come together in ideas and thoughts that we've never thought that we could have!Hopefully,our weekends at this organization is like heaven in our boring,misery and teenage week!We even share ideas from Kazantakis' diary who was the inspirator of this organization and a Nobel holder.And I want to say to you "I don't hope nothing/I'm not afraid of anything/I'm free!".
Hi Anna,
I laughed when you said you did 13 re-writes. I usually do 6 or more, just for a 4000-6000 word short story. The only thing I like to serve raw is flash fiction. I find it helpful to write a short story, then write another one, and then go back to the first and edit it. Getting away from the work somehow makes it easier to see the flaws. I don't know about you, but most of my problems are with plot, rather than characterization.
Anyway... Congrats on finding an agent and a publisher for your first novel. That's so exciting. And thanks for the advice. This fall I'm taking the plunge into novel writing. Actually, I'd like to try a hyper-link project. I think at that point I'm gonna have to bite the bullet and start looking for a writing group again. I'd really like to find one that's a good fit. It sounds like it's been working for you.


Anna Shinoda said:
Yes Valerie... I think it is really important to find the right writer's group. I met all my critiquing writer friends through classes, so we had read each other's work before. Not only did I like what they were writing and their style, but I also liked the way they critiqued. Both of the groups I belong to are small - we all have children or another job and don't have the extra time to spend getting bogged down in critiques. And we have a page number ceiling when it comes to submitting something to the group for critique, making special exceptions when a whole novel is complete and we want group feedback on the whole thing.

I agree that best feedback has come from my agent or editor because they are usually able to point out exactly where the problem areas are stemming from, but my writing buddy critiques have been valuable as well. I never feel like the work is no longer my own after having a critique. Usually I don't use specific suggestions that they may come up with to fix an area. Rather, their critique puts attention on weakness in my writing or the story and their suggestions for fixing it gets my brain turning.

Around draft 6 of my novel, I thought it was done, that there was nothing more that I could possibly improve on. Now I'm on draft 13 and so glad that it wasn't published at draft 6. Hopefully everything I have learned from working on this novel will make the writing process a little tighter on my next novel... maybe then it won't take me over five years to get my next novel written and revised!


Valerie Lost Track said:
I'm a scifi/fantasy writer and I do short stories. I haven't gotten published yet, although I have a story shortlisted at the moment. I tried joining a writer's group, but got so bogged down in reading other people's stuff that it interfered with my writing. I think maybe I just need to find a smaller or less prolific group.
Anyway... My best feedback has come from editors. If anyone else out there writes scifi or fantasy short fiction, I'd be happy to pass along the names of a few magazines and e-zines that give you real critical feedback (once in a while, not always) instead of form rejections.
I like getting constructive criticism. I don't mind editing my work, particularly if it's a matter of just changing a plot line to make a story tighter or more logical. It's still MY work, my voice on paper. I understand Alexandra's feelings about keeping things raw and fresh and not over-editing. I always save my original versions in case a re-write goes flat. But I find outside critiques helpful when it comes to tightening a plot or clarifying a character's motivation.

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