You Are Not Alone!
Writing is a lonely craft. You spend more time with your computer than with your friends or family. ‘Sorry, can’t go out tonight, need to finish writing the current chapter.’ You lock yourself away in your writing cave, or a corner of a room and tap away at the keyboard. This is fine, for the most part, but you need to interact with other writers. There are many groups to be found on Facebook, some good, some not so good. When you find a good group to join, respect the rules posted and respect the other group members. Drama is the last thing anything anyone wants to see. We have enough of that in our stories. Another thing to remember, group members are giving their time to read and comment on what you posted. Time they could use for their own writing and editing. Be polite and thank them for the time they give you. Don’t get into a heated debate about the comments they made.
In 2013, when I dove head first into writing again, I came across a group on Facebook called Writers World. This group is run by Randall Andrews, a remarkable man and an excellent teacher. WW is for writers to learn the rules of writing. Yes, there are rules. The rules give our story structure, we flesh out the structure with dialogue, action, conflict, and everything else that makes a story a joy to read. The purpose of the group is to help writers learn the rules and apply them to their writing. One of the great things about this group: No Solicitation of your published work is allowed. No links to your work. If you want an excerpt critiques, you post it in a thread. Keep it to 500 word chunks. A lot of people post here, wanting comments and help.
When you join a group like this, don’t expect them to hold back on the comments and suggestions. They are trying to help you; pointing out when passive voice is used, or too many adverbs. They let you know when you’re over describing something. All the advice will help to make your story flow for the reader. The more you follow the advice they give, when you next write something, you have less editing to do. Which is always a good thing.
For quite a while I lurked in the background, making occasional comments on various posts. I was too nervous to actually critique anything. That has changed. I’m not afraid to make suggestions for changing the wording of a sentence, or suggest when something should be cut altogether. I am polite when making the suggestions, and if the piece is interesting, I tell them. I will also tell them if I don’t understand who is saying or doing what and why.
Occasionally you get a few members who, for some unknown reason decide not to accept your advice, particularly when it has to do with the rules of writing. Don’t argue about the rules of writing! They’ve been around for a long time and any writer who has half a brain will follow the rules. Arguing with someone who is more knowledgeable than you, makes you look like a fool. By arguing, the only thing you accomplish is alienating the rest of the members, then no one will read what you post.
Belonging to a group with helpful people allows you to bounce ideas off them, to see if what you are attempting makes sense. Maybe you are trying to write a new opening sentence for your story, but aren’t sure you hooked the reader. Post it so the others can read it. Learn from their comments and suggestions. When you receive advice, save it in a document for future reference.
If you write in a specific genre, groups exist for that as well. I belong to Fantasy Writers, since that’s one of the genres I’m writing in. Do a search on FB to find what suits you. By connecting with other writers, you discover you are not alone. There are many others out there looking to connect with like-minded people. Remember to be polite, and leave the drama at the door.
May the words ever flow!