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 [F] Mystery Net Community  / Writing Mysteries  / Generally Speaking...  /

Writing Groups
Jim Moore - 10:45am Apr 18, 1998 PST

Mary Higgins Clarke gave me the idea of joining a writing group. (Well, okay, it's not as if Ms. Clarke and I are buddies.I was one among a dozen or so aspiring writers to whom she gave a brief talk.) The writing group consists of four or five writers and would-be writers who meet weekly, exchange copies of a short story or a chapter of a longer work, take it home, critique it professionally (which means we're not a mutual admiration society -- we're out to help one another make our work better), bring all the mss. back the next week, discuss each of our reactions/suggestions regarding each of the works, get a copy of another story or chapter, take it home to critique etc ad infinitum. The critiques include everything from the obvious typos and spelling errors (which shouldn't still exist unless you're submitting first-drafts to your fellow members) to characterization ("Gosh, the Fred you've been writing about wouldn't react that way to losing his job, would he?") to the pacing and just about anything affecting affecting the story. Each of us knows, in our minds, what we want to say. Group members tell us what we did say -- which isn't always the same. We (as writers) know things about the characters and situations which we sometimes assume, quite erroneously, that the reader will know. Our group members tell us when this assumption was incorrect -- when we need to tell more, explain more, or when we've overdone some point, or when the story begins to drag and a reader would probably put it down forever. I could go on with this but, even without my group to help me here, I think I've made the point. Give it a try -- it's helped me get two books published.

Previous MessagesEarliest MessagesOutlineRecent Messages (30 previous messages)
_Sunshine_ - 09:33am Dec 31, 1998 PST(#31 of 39)
...redefining Normal, one day at a time.

Helen -

Go to Mysteries by Members - Add-ons

We already have one in progress, but please don't join it - we're 200 messages into it, and if it gets any longer, I'm gonna kill myself off!! :o) If you'd like to peruse that one for ideas, go ahead. There also two more in the Solved?? folder, same area. Hope it gets the old gears crankin' again!

Don McKenzie - 05:24pm Jan 22, 1999 PST(#32 of 39)

Hi,   I am trying to find an answer to this  question. I am using the name of a real hotel, in a real  city, in a detective mystery.  The hotel is characterized as a terrffic hotel. The best of the best. Everybody wants to stay there. The city is also characterized in a positve way. 

A murder occurs in the hotel.  Nothing unusual. Just a murder.  It was not the fault of the hotel. 

Am I allowed to use the name of a real hotel in a  fictionalized novel.  I have found support in some of Steve Allen's books, and then there is the series by Margaret Truman-- Murder in the CIA  --  Murder in the White House, etc. 

Any help in this area would appreicated.  

Don McKenzie

george suits jr - 07:46am Mar 19, 1999 PST(#33 of 39)

hey gang i would love to join a writing group i live in upstate new york and i am on webtv so if anyone had any information contact me at thanks george

Teresa Kennedy - 03:00pm Nov 26, 1999 PST(#34 of 39)

THE CATSKILL WRITER'S COLONY, in South Fallsburg New York, NY is offering interested writers special discount rental rates for our startup season. Our facilities consist of 1 and two bedroom bungalows, a 2 bedroom private house with an above ground pool, acres of beautiful woods and the right kind of environment for work and play in a peaceful, welcoming summer retreat where busy writers can get away from it all and write that book! In addition, the colony will be offering special workshops and seminars throughout the summer 2000 season, where residents and weekend participants will have a chance to network with other professionals, meet agents and editors, and exchange their ideas with fellow writers in a relaxed rural atmosphere less than 2 hours from New York City. For rates and information, please emailand don't forget to ask about the MYSTERY WRITER"S BOOT CAMP! Teresa Kennedy

claire kirch - 10:51am Mar 3, 2000 PST(#35 of 39)

How would you like to find out how the greats--writers like Marcia Muller, Abigail Padgett, Ellen Hart, Val McDermid, and Joan Drury--write their novels and stories? Now you have an opportunity to obtain a glimpse into their writing lives--it is like being in a writing group with thirteen fabulous, acclaimed authors! Spinsters Ink is publishing a collection of essays by 13 critically-acclaimed women mystery writers in which they reflect upon their professional lives, discuss how they go about weaving together the stories they create, plus each writer provides tips for aspiring authors. THe book is called "They Wrote the Book: 13 Women Mystery Writers Reveal All" and it is edited by Helen Windrath. The pub date is June 2000. This is a must-read for any serious writing, whether she or he is a novice or a seasoned pro. If you need more information, contact me at claire

sassi - 01:49pm Sep 9, 2001 PST(#36 of 39)
I think animal testing is a terrible idea; they get all nervous and give the wrong answers.

I was wandering around MN today as it's very quiet Sunday afternoon on the site and stumbled in here. Very informative reading about different groups here.

I belong to a terrific on-line writing group. In two different sites with much cross-over in membership. One is a ezine and the other is a discussion type forum. If anyone is interested in these, please just check out my profile, email me or look in "links" in my website.

Happy Writing!

PoisonGuy - 02:07am Jun 7, 2004 PST(#37 of 39)
I got my Nemesis pregnant!

I'm looking to start or join a writing group.

Preferably with people who are writing novel length works and are committed to completing their manuscripts.

My main goal is to get feedback (and give it as well) so that I can improve my story. I am weak in the 'technical writing' aspect of things, so I am looking for help in this area, but I am strong in story development and alright in character development, so I have these strengths to contribute to the group.

Anyone me pronto.

Pamela James - 10:26pm Aug 7, 2004 PST(#38 of 39)

I would love to joina mystery writers group that actually write among other genres tradional mystery, cozy mystery and historical mystery. I am a published cozy author and I would love to talk with other cozy authors/writers along with other mystery genre authors/writers.

Pamela James - 10:28pm Aug 7, 2004 PST(#39 of 39)

I forgot to mention I am a review/interview editor for some magazines (online) so I would love any published mystery authors to contact me offlist if they are interested in having their books reviewed and being itnerviewed. Tnaks Pamela

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