New! MeetUp Online Writing Group for writers in the Midlands, UK and beyond!
There is a one-off fee (£5) for the in-person and online writing group to help towards the running cost of the site.
I also have five Online Writing Groups for critique and writing prompts.
Regardless of whether you are a new writer or have been multi-published, I would always recommend belonging to a writing group – you can always learn (and teach) something.
If you are based in the UK and are looking for a writing group, the best place to look is the National Association of Writing Groups’ Directory of Writers’ Circles. If you live in the US there’s a great list here and for Canada there’s a page of allsorts.
I live in Northamptonshire, England and there are various writing groups in the county. I am involved in three: Chair of Northampton Writers Group (fortnight Thursdays), second-in-charge at Northampton Literature Group* (first Tuesday – the NLG also has a new blog!), and member of Towcester Writers Group (third Wednesday) where I’ll be doing a talk on eBooking in April.
*Northampton Literature Group also has a Reading Group which meets on the second Tuesday of the month (term-time) and a Poetry Group on the third Tuesday of the month.
I have been a member of the Northampton Writers Group (NWG) since 2010, and Chair since January 2012.
The NWG website is http://www.northamptonwriters.org.uk (calendar listed below) and also some of the group’s writing. Nick, our Secretary, who updates the website and tirelessly organises the long-running H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, does all the hard work so I plan to get more involved and hopefully spread the word a little more about our group, even if it’s just here on the internet. Membership to this group is £5 a year plus £3 per person per visit. First attendance is free.
We meet every other Thursday evening – details on the home page of the NWG website. Every other fortnight is ‘Free Manuscript’* where members can read out anything we’ve written / a work in progress and want critique on, with specific topics in between. The NWG is also listed on the Directory of Writers’ Circles.
NWG Calendar 2013
September 5th – Free Manuscript*
September 19th – talk by local author Tony Klinger
October 3rd – Free Manuscript*
October 17th – Poetry / Pastiche (writing in the style of another author)
October 31st – Free Manuscript*
November 14th – Members-only short story competition (1,500 words max.)
November 28th – Free Manuscript*
December 12th – Chairman’s Evening (fun and (writing) games from yours truly)
We will then reconvene on 9th January 2014 which will be Free Manuscript, then the AGM is on the 23rd, an opportunity to discuss the forthcoming topics and elect members of the group.
I’m also Acting Chair and Writing Circle Lead of the Northampton Literature Group’s Writing Circle (NLG). We meet at the University of Northampton Park Campus, Northampton on the first Tuesday of every term-time month (when closed we meet at Richmond Retirement Village, Grange Park).
The format is pretty much the same each time: a 10-minute free writing from a one-word prompt (which we then read out), read out and critique of previously-set homework (usually 500 words max. as we have a busy schedule). Then I do a workshop varying from keywords or sentence starts to mixed bag or scenarios… the sort of exercises I put every weekday on my Online Writing Groups.
Membership is just £10 a year (with no meeting fee as we’re not charged for the room) and that gets you into the writing group (first Tuesdays), reading group (second Tuesdays) and poetry group (third Tuesday), all at the same venue term-time. They also have a theatre group but this is an extra fee, see the NLG website for details.
The homework for the writing group for January 7th 2014 is writing a short story of up to 500 words from the following sentence start: “A packet of cigarettes please, and a bottle of vodka…”. That may sound straightforward but you have to make it dialogue only, no description, no he said / she said, just what they say.
** NLG has a yearly new Flash Fiction competition and I’m Head Judge! **
I’ve also joined Towcester Writers Group in 2012, which meets 7.30pm-9.30pm every third Wednesday evening. The 2013 calendar is as follows (OM = Open Mic night, reading out a theme or work-in-progress):
January 16th – OM (theme: use the last line of a book by another author as your first line), the Group celebrates its first birthday
February 20th – OM (theme: write what should not be forgotten)
March 20th – OM (theme: “I’m sorry, but you’ve been kidnapped”)
April 17th – Guest Speaker: Morgen Bailey re. eBooks
May 15th – OM (theme: Taste of the universe)
June 19th – OM (theme: What makes you come alive, using an image as a prompt)
July 17th – Guest Speakers: Leslie and Sue Hampton
August 21st – OM (theme: The wallet he found)
September 18th – OM (theme: First line: There are 3 things she told me never to do…)
October 16th – OM (theme: Halloween)
November 20th – OM (theme: Which door will you choose, using an image as a prompt)
December 18th – Christmas Party Night
Unless otherwise specified, the cost for all other meetings is £3 including refreshments. TWG’s website is www.towcesterwriters.weebly.com, they’re also on Facebook and group lead Louise Gibney is also on Twitter (and you can click here for her website). I’m also listed on their Meet our Writers page.
As well as being morgenwriteruk on Twitter, I also tweet about the groups I’m involved in at NtonWritingGrps and if you’d like further information on any of these groups, or have questions about belonging to or setting up a writing group, then do let email me. I blogged on the topic in March 2012.