Let’s Talk About Writing Groups!

 Before we get to the discussion today, I’d like to thank any readers who purchased and commented on Warrior, my newly released novel. For those of you who don’t know what it is, you can check it out here. If it looks interesting and you read it, be sure to leave some feedback somewhere. I love hearing from readers.

Anyways, I’d like to talk about writing groups today. They’re an important part of any person’s development as a writer, whether they take place online or face-to-face. Why? Writing groups get you in touch with other people, writers and readers, and people are good for your writing.

We need audiences when we work on our writing. A single person is not capable of looking at their work and seeing all the necessary revisions needed. More importantly, our best work happens when we write with others, not alone.

We’ve all had that one misconception of a good writer. They’re that person who sits in a room lit by candlelight. They peck away at a typewriter for hours, agonizing over each line, and everything they write is golden because that person has something special that no one else has.

This is a false notion. All great writers have a great editor, or a horde of them, that help out during the writing process. When there’s a group of people reading your work, you have the benefit of multiple perspectives on your writing. One person can read your work and have a problem with something. You might not change it. If four people have a problem with the same thing and actually talk their way through what specifically troubles them about it, then you actually have something to work with.

Writing groups are essential for this reason. Your story will never please every single person on the planet, but it can become something incredible by working with the people around you. And writing groups are a great way to get free editing and consulting on your work 🙂

The next big reason you should join a writing group: you will read other people’s work.

Reading and responding to another person’s work will not only let you experience a broader scope of writing, it will make you a better writer. I’m serious. A 2003 study by Jay Simmons examined several classes of high school and college students over the course of three years. Their collective data showed that students who had the opportunity to respond to peer writing the most often also scored higher in writing assignments.

So do yourself a favor and get a writing group together. Make a google doc, meet some locals. If you’ve got an internet connection, there’s really no excuse for writing alone. Try out some websites like fictionpress.com or wattpad.com. If you’re not writing strictly original fiction, join the communities at fanfiction.net or archiveofourown. They’re all great sources for writers to make connections with one another.

So audience, what have your experiences with writing groups been? If any?

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Published?

Where have I been, internet? Possibly living in a dark cave and writing thousands upon thousands of pages of unpublishable material? Maybe. A little bit. Basically. Yeah…

But I’m published. That’s the important part. All The Pretty Things started out as an incomplete, all-but-abandoned draft by my coauthor, Rae D Magdon. After coauthoring several short pieces with her, we decided to revisit this older, promising manuscript and revise it together. The result was a published e-book as of today, August 7.

Warning, shameless plug imminent:

All The Pretty Things is a self-published novel available to download for the kindle or any kindle reader app via the amazon bookstore. Since the kindle app goes on anything, you theoretically can read it on what you’re reading this post on. Just search the title plus the author names, either Rae D Magdon or Michelle Magly, and it will pop up.

End shameless plug.

Okay. Now to dish. How was self-publishing? Pretty great, actually. With a coauthor and horde of writing friends all armed with degrees in English, composition, or a variation on either, we had quite the editorial staff at our disposal. Self-published books have a reputation of being unprofessional. We worked hard to make it very professional. 

Formatting was also a large process. We spent hours upon hours of formatting. I read two guides on how to format properly. This story looks nearly identical to any other professionally-produced e-book, minus the extensive front-matter of legal jargon. 

Is self-publishing for everyone? No. Rae and I have an extensive following online, and we work hard to advertise our writing. It takes a lot of work and a lot of writing that you might not be paid for. It’s a tough gig, but if it works for you, it’s an excellent method of publication. Totally recommended. If you choose this path, make sure to use the resources available. Read the free information available about publishing by yourself. Smashwords has an excellent guide.

As for our story in particular, it’s primarily a romance novel housed within a crime drama. There are lesbians, and there are scenes not appropriate for younger readers. You’ve been warned. If there’s anyone with questions about the kindle direct publishing service, ask and I’ll answer to the best of my abilities. Thanks for reading.