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Author Archive: "Jen Van Meter"

Making It Up as We Go Along

Geek WeekA long time ago, when I was in graduate school, I joined a writers' group. It was an informal workshop in which we intended to help each other finish and improve works of fiction then in progress. It didn't last long. If I'm perfectly honest, it was a washout. I know writers who swear by such groups, thank theirs in the acknowledgements in their books, and advise new or struggling writers to find one of their own. I've no doubt that a good one, one with the right chemistry, is a fantastic support system and resource.

This one I joined, it was not that.

It wasn't that we didn't have good intentions; there was a lot of loyalty, critical admiration, and genuine fondness in the room, and — because there were human beings there — there was also a lot of insecurity. Every last one of us was eager to get and give help with our writing problems, but none of us really wanted to hear, or speak aloud, anything that might hurt. We quickly gravitated to talking only about one another's best ...

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