I belong to a writer’s group that has no name other than Writer’s Group. There are four us that meet on a regular basis. Right now it is every other. Each of us has our own genre. As you know I write murder mysteries. Tim writes about international intrigue, military and travel logs. Bob writes plays. Jason right now is writing How To and Help Books and is breaking into Fiction for Children.
If you are not already a member of a writer’s group I highly recommend that you find one. I don’t suggest that you just pick one and join. I suggest that you shop for one like you do anything else. You have to have a certain comfort level with the other members.
The reason you want that comfort level is that you will want to have someone give you honest and important feedback. I have attended some that have given feedback that is all positive and “I like your stuff” type of comments. That won’t help you. I have attended those whose members feel they have the only solution on how to write and if you don’t follow their ideas then you are an idiot. I would say run away from that type of group, don’t walk.
All the members of my group are interested in two things, perfecting our craft and getting published. For us nothing else matters. I feel comfortable handing over my manuscripts in progress to make sure I stay true to the characters and I don’t stray from the story line. When we meet, we talk about things like style, character development, use of dialog, how do successful writers do it, we also critique famous authors works and how they do it. We also talk about movies. The reason for that is how does one develop plot lines, scene development, character interaction, keeping characters honest with who they are.
This is an invaluable tool for any writer from inexperienced to consistently on the best seller list. It helps us to keep our books tight, on subject. It helps us to tell the reader only enough detail to keep their interest and let them become a part of the story. A good story will allow the reader to bring along their own experiences for the ride.