Posts Tagged ‘writing groups’

The Writing Rookie Season 2, #3: The Search for a Writing Group

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

This post is cross-posted at A Motley Vision. For the complete list of columns in this series, click here.

Back when I was in college, one of the best things I ever did was join Xenobia, an sf&f writing group. It was a great experience. I didn’t do much writing back then, but the process of reading, giving critiques, and listening to other people’s comments taught me a lot about both writing and what I value as a reader. For several years, it served as one of my primary social groups. Some of the people I met there have become longtime friends — people I’m still in contact with today.

As a writing group, Xenobia is no more, alas. (It still exists as a kind of email list where people share news and encouragement from time to time.) And I truly regret it, because now that I’m finally trying to get my own creative writing going again, I find that I need both readers to react to my work and people I can bat ideas around with.

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Book Signings and Other Delights

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

I went to a book signing this past weekend. Sadly, I wasn’t the one signing the books. Instead, it was Dan Wells, the LDS author of the John Wayne Cleaver books (I Am Not a Serial Killer, Mr. Monster, and the just-released I Don’t Want to Kill You), a YA/adult horror/suspense/supernatural series that I ranted about (approvingly) here.

Wells is a former editor of The Leading Edge, BYU’s science fiction and fantasy magazine, where I also got my start in editing back in the mid-1980s (about a decade before Wells, I think). He also tied for the Whitney Award for best first novel in 2009 for I Am Not a Serial Killer — an award for which No Going Back was also eligible, but did not win. I can’t really resent him for it, since I Am Not a Serial Killer is really quite good — and the later books are better.

So I made my way to Uncle Hugo’s, the Twin Cities’ premier independent sf&f bookstore, where Wells was holding forth. I stood around for an hour or so, then went with him and several other fans (including William Morris, a compatriot in the field of Mormon letters and coeditor of the forthcoming Mormons and Monsters anthology), and we went to lunch, where I listened and tried not to talk too much and generally absorbed good writing vibes. And then I went home, while Wells and several of the others made their way to Minicon, an sf&f convention that was being held in Minneapolis Easter weekend and which I had briefly contemplated attending, before deciding otherwise.

It was a good experience. Well, maybe. As a fan, I was glad to go. As a writer, I felt (and feel) deeply ambivalent.

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