Dramaquill's All Things Writing

June 16, 2009

Publication – the waiting game

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Writers write for many different reasons.  I’m guessing that one of the most common, however, is to see their work in print…published.

The road to publication is often a long one, filled with many bumps and detours along the way.  But let’s say you’ve finally polished that manuscript and started subbing it out.  You’re now playing The Waiting Game.

I just received my complimentary copy of Hopscotch for Girls, a U.S. magazine.   In it, is a non-fiction poem I wrote called “The Marsupial Family”. 

Now here’s where you’ll see what I mean by The Waiting Game.

I subbed the poem in October of 2005.  It was accepted for publication in November of 2005.  (Actually a quick response) But alas, it took nearly four years before I got the thrill of seeing one of my pieces published.

The publishing business works very far into the future.  Having a turnaround of three or four years between an acceptance and publication is the norm.  In fact, right now, the Bluffton Group, who publishes Hopscotch for Girls, Boys Quest and Fun for Kidz is looking at obtaining suitable material for themes all the way to 2014.

So that’s why, as a writer, it’s important for you to get those subs out there.  And nowadays, most publications understand that you are likely going to sub your piece to simultaneous markets.  As long as you inform everyone that your submission is a simultaneous one, usually they do not need exclusivitiy.  The publishers only ask that you inform them if your piece is accepted by someone else.

A writing friend has a book coming out this year.  She got her acceptance three years ago.  Again, it;s The Waiting Game.  But had she not subbed out her piece, the day of seeing her first book in print would never have come.

So, rather than be discouraged by the long turnaround times in the publishing business, get writing…get revision…and get subbing.

June 7, 2009

How to set up your own writing group

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Maybe some of you would like to create a writing group, but just don’t know how to go about doing it.  Here are a few tips and ideas to get you started:

1.      Pick a location (often local libraries, community centres and
         bookstores have rooms available at no cost for such an activity)

2.     Decide on an itial meeting time (this can change once members get
         together and provide feedback on available times)

3.     Advertise the first meeting.  Make a poster with pertinent information
        (date/time/place/how to contact you/cost to join…free) and hang it
         on any free bulletin boards in your community (malls/library/
         bookstores/local establishments).  Advertise it online for FREE at
         kijiji.com.  Seems most cities in N. America have a Kijiji site.

4.     Make up a name for the group – something catchy & writing related.

5.     Make sure to have contact info. (phone number/email) in case
         people have questions before coming out to the meeting.

6.     Have an agenda for the first meeting – be organized if you want to
        attract others.  Most likely the first meeting will be about everyone
        getting to know each other, telling a bit about their writing interests
        and deciding on what the group wants to get out of the meetings.

7.     Plan how often to meet.  (once or twice a month is probably best)

8.     Set up a free website or blog so everyone can keep in touch in
         between meetings.

Remember, you don’t have to be a writing expert to set up a writing group. 

Some writing groups are very specific, ie, for those who write rhymes for kids or those who write novels.  But remember, if you advertise for only one type of writing, you may not get many (or any) members.  It’s probably best to start out welcoming any styles and genres.  If enough writers join, eventually they might branch off into their own sub-groups.

Good luck with your new groups.

Writers don’t have to feel isolated and alone

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A while back I posted on the topic of critique groups and asked the question:  Which is better – online or in person?

I still say there are benefits to each scenerio and what’s most important is what the group has to offer and whether or not it’s going to be something that helps and encourages you with your writing.

I do belong to two fantastic online groups and will continue to stay an active member of each.  The contacts and friendships I’ve made are invaluable.

But a happy circumstance came my way, in the form of a brand new writing group called The Write Way, formed by two gals who’ve written a couple of short stories together.  The group turned out to be an ecclectic mix of writers interested in a variety of genres and styles.  Our first meeting was a lot of fun.  We filled out “all about me” sheets, shared information and talked about challenges we all face as writers.

So once a month, we will meet at our local book store.  We’ll take turns reading our work and offering critiques and suggestions.  We’ve already begun to share resources and celebrate each other’s successes. 

The energy sparkled with the excitement each individual brought to the group and it really is nice to be able to talk face-to-face to others bitten by the writing bug.

So if you’re sitting in front of your computer wishing you could go and talk writing with other writers, you can do a couple of things:

1.     Check with your local library and bookstore(s) for groups that
         already exist.  Go to a meeting and see what happens.

2.     Set up your own writing group.  It’s easier than you think.

So remember, although the act of writing is a solitary activity, you don’t have to feel isolated and alone.

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