Why I’m In A Writing Group

02.27.08 | 2 Comments

I’m in a writer’s group here in Fort Worth. Roughly half a dozen other writers belong, all pretty much around my level of skill. Everyone has opinions and the discussions tend to be lively.

About a week ago I presented a detective story. It’s probably the best idea I’ve ever had, and I kicked it around for years and years before I ever got down to writing it. As a result I had a pretty good idea of how I wanted it to go, and that’s mostly how it went.

One problem was a scene near the middle, where the detective takes a woman he met during the investigation out to dinner. This scene contained a small but important character point that I wanted to make, and otherwise was just a way of getting certain characters together in the next scene. I tried to do the scene with narration only, but there’s just nothing going on to describe, so I resorted to a few lines of “witty” dialog.

At the meeting, the story was pretty well received, with lots of suggestions for ways to improve it, many of which I’ll probably end up using. Just when things seemed to be winding down a writer named Chris Drury gave me an excellent suggestion for how to add a little impact to the date scene: have them discuss, and make fun of, the other patrons.

This was such a great idea that I immediately began to plan how to best use it, including having the detective and the girl make fun of themselves and each other in a way that will point to some of the later developments, and will also let me fill in a little backstory.

So that’s why I go to writing groups. No matter how good your story is, you never know when someone will give you an idea that may make it better.


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