Tells how to set up a writing group, including finding the right people to join, how to use sample exercises, and the best way to handle critiquing sessions
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Writing may be a solitary art, but most writers still crave some sort of community. Thus the proliferation of the writing group, a source of camaraderie, encouragement, criticism, inspiration, and calorie-rich munchies. Unfortunately, many such well-intentioned writing groups disintegrate after a time, due to lack of attendance, squabbles, other commitments, or plain old inertia.
In Writing Together, Dawn Denham Haines, Susan Newcomer, and Jacqueline Raphael--members of a writing group in Tucson, Arizona--offer lots of fine advice on how to form a group and keep it together. What separates their writing group from most others is that rather than solely critiquing finished pieces, the group emphasizes "generative writing" by writing together from a "prompt" (a word, group of words, or sentence that gets them started). Thus the group nourishes both the creative product and the creative process. Doing so, the authors say, "encourages, enlivens, and emboldens each of us in ways we never anticipated." Still, they do not belittle the benefits of group critiques, and they present some useful guidelines in that direction. They also devote quite a few pages to keeping the spark alive: they have found that occasional group writing on the subject of the group itself (what is working, what isn't) and overnight retreats work wonders. --Jane Steinberg
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