• Is there some sort of vetting process that I have to go through to join the club?
  • Nope. Show up and see if you feel comfortable and want to continue coming.
  • Are there assignments or projects that we are given?
  • Nope. Bring what you want to share.
  • Are there fees or dues?
  • Again: nope.
  • How is the group run?
  • We try to stick to what is called the Dunning Method: a writer reads a piece, preferably something he/she feels he needs help with, is trying out to see how it flies, if it conveys what he wants to convey, doesn’t confuse, etc. It’s read aloud, and ideally there are enough copies for members. At the end of the reading the rest of the group comments on the WRITING! Rarely on the subject, and personal comments are not generally welcome. This is done as if the writer were not even present in the room– no defending or explaining your work– on the basis that when your manuscript is published, you’re not going to be there explaining to the reader sitting alone in her living room. We analyze what’s on the printed page. We TRY to stick to that format. Consideration is always taken for the feeling of the writer who might be putting her heart and soul into it. We strive to be kind and helpful, never harsh. Our goal is to help the writer improve the writing.
  • What type of writing do you typically see, and is there anything that people roll their eyes at that I should avoid? I will write pretty much anything and I love to read. I would just like a forum to discuss it with people, as well as critique the work of others and help where I can.
  • We typically see everything from articles to memoir to short fiction to novels in progress, to poetry… pretty much anything and everything. Not all of us can comment intelligently on everything– I usually sit quietly for poetry– but we’re mostly like you: we enjoy reading and writing, and we’re pretty open-minded. Hopefully we know good writing when we see it, and can offer suggestions for improvement.
  • Any required reading, and if so, what?
  • Nope. But someone is always thrilled to recommend something really great to read!
  • How many people typically show up to the monthly meetings?
  • Anywhere from 6 to 12 or 13, or often more. We try to anticipate and bring enough copies for everyone, but lately we’ve had enough people show up that we have to share. No big deal. Attendance runs from 6 to 20 people, so dividing up into groups– good tables of 6 people each– has become the norm. By this standard, 6 or 7 copies or so should be plenty for sharing. Feel free to bring food and/or drink.
  • Do you communicate further on projects with individuals online?
  • Rarely, as far as I know, and probably only on a person by person basis. We’ve never tried an online group, but I imagine some individuals do or can continue together on their own.
  • Is there any “theme” or umbrella that your writing group is under? In other words, does a religious, political, social, or other ideology or theme that is independent of the craft of writing infuse your group?
  • No real themes of any kind. There is a little of everything from fantasy to SF to travel, and even some writing with religious themes, but no one common denominator.
  • Is there any writing that is off-limits or simply just thought to be too much for the group to handle?
  • Unlikely that you’d offend anyone, unless maybe you’re into pornography! There’s been very little racy stuff in my memory, but some, and there is often harsh language; there have been stories– fictional and true– of mental illness, drug abuse, violence.
  • Who am I writing this to, and if it’s not too much to ask, what’s your story?
  • I’m Mark Wolfgang, formerly the guy in charge by default when I worked at LCC, and had the keys to the room. 🙂 Now I mostly update the web page and send out the monthly email meeting reminders. I joined ages ago, drawn in by Linda Peckham, founder of the group, now a retired professor of writing at LCC. The  then- leader of that time (not Linda, but Doug Price, who we’ve have learned died recently) wandered away and didn’t come back…. Since then I’ve written a few novels, and self-published three. Going the traditional publishing route is a long and depressing ordeal (and I’m getting too old to wait years for rejections), and after 20 years of writing and going on writing retreats, I decided I needed something to show for it. Think: Christmas presents! You can see more at http://www.yoopernaturalmysteries.com. I’m one of the organizers, with Linda Peckham, of the annual writing conference A Rally of Writers. I’m also a long-time member of Peninsula Writers, and webmanager for these groups and their Facebook counterparts.

Direct correspondence to Mark at skaaldic_society@hotmail.com

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