Proposal for a Writers Group

     Several years ago I belonged to a couple of small writers groups. Each of them consisted of about five members. At the first one, which was run by the local center for the arts, writers would meet once a month, with a section of the manuscript they were writing, to read out loud to the other members. The woman who ran that particular group believed that it was her job to encourage each person to write more. So, she would praise everything they brought in, whether it deserved that praise or not. This may be a good thing to do — but, only to a point. In a group like this, novice writers may get the feeling that their rough drafts are myracles of literature. They often come to believe that they should not change a single word of what they have written. As a result, some of those people made the rounds of agents and publishers long before their work was ready to present. 
     I liked the second group better. This group had about five members, who would meet once a month. It was more work than the first group, but for me, it was more rewarding. During the month, we would each read what the other members had written, and make thorough notes as to how we believed their manuscripts could be improved. In return, we would receive critiques of our manuscripts from each of the other members. 
     I found this to be stimulating and educational as well, for when I had looked critically at other people’s work, I began to see more clearly where my writing fell short. One of the rules we had was that if three people said the same thing needed to be fixed in the manuscript, we really should pay attention to what they said. However, if only one or two people said an item needed changing, we could take it or leave it as we felt best. This is one form of workshopping a manuscript, and many publishers are glad to hear that you have put your manuscript through such scrutiny.
     Since that time, I have looked both online and off for writers groups that would be similar to that second one. I have discovered that they are very difficult to find. Are there other fantasy fiction writers who would be interested in starting such a group? If there are, we could meet once a month on Zoom or perhaps Skype to discuss our work, and we could share our manuscripts using Google docs. There may be better interfaces out there for this purpose, however I have used these with good results 
     If any of you are interested in doing this with me, please let me know, and we can decide how to proceed, and if you know of interfaces that you like better, please tell me. 
I look forward to hearing from you. And, as I have said before, Keep on writing — You’ll never know what could be improved until you have it in front of you, on paper! 

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