Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Critique partners are worth their weight in gold. So (checking financial page) like $20,000 a pound.
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Hillsy
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Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by Hillsy » May 11th, 2012, 7:02 pm

NB: We're still looking for critique members!!!

OK I'm getting ideas of grandeur, but......meh

Anyways - using Brandon Sanderson's recent lectures as a guide and starting point (OK, ok ,I blatantly thieved the idea), I'm looking to set up a 4-6 person group who all write some aspect of fantasy (preferably adult, but I appreciate we're working with limited numbers here and no enrapt writing class) to follow the system Sanderson set out and start to get things really moving. Sanderson himself suggests using completed works, or at least stuff sufficiently completed that there's no delay, and so this doesn't fall into the exercise realm of workshopping. The system is 1000 words per week - critiqued by everyone (if things start moving well, you can up the limit following a unanimous decision). Again Sanderson accepts you'll 'outwrite' your writing group in terms of volume - but hey, that's good, right?

Sooooo, who's in? I think this'd be a boon, not only to this group but for those looking to construct/plagurise under similar rules (I can provide links and very little bribery would be involved). I think getting decent number of likeminded people all willing to shine their internal editor lights on other people's works would be infinately preferable to a more monochromatic exchange.

.....and hey, the message facility is built into this site for a reason.

Catch y'all laters
Last edited by Hillsy on May 14th, 2012, 6:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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dios4vida
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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by dios4vida » May 11th, 2012, 7:39 pm

<raises a trembling, hesitant hand>

This really isn't something I've ever done...heck, I have a critique partner who still hasn't seen a word I've written because I had to rewrite the stinkin' book before it was in halfway decent shape...and I'm not the speediest nor the most organized writer around...but my intrigue is (barely) beating out my fright. Can you count me as a 'methinks I'm in'?

I do write adult fantasy, in the vein of R.A. Salvatore and Brandon Sanderson (though nowhere near that caliber). They're very sword-and-sorcery, fantasy adventure, heroes-must-recover-McGuffin-to-stop-bad-guy-and-save-world type stories. This WIP I'm on is my third-ish, I have another halfway completed but it's technically my fourth. I'm basically a pantser who likes to build an outline as I go. Is that the kind of partner you're looking for?

Now that I've decided I want to give this a try, I'm actually kinda excited. And terrified. You know.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

Joe Kosh
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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Joe Kosh » May 12th, 2012, 3:37 am

Hi everyone,

I like the idea of a group that helps each other out during the process. For me, it'll save some money I would normally spend on books during the week, heh. I read a lot as I travel and I'm traveling 3-5 days a week so kind of hard to meet on specific days but can do turn-a-round work np and quite fast.

This actually kind of comes at a good time since I need to add about 10-15k to my completed book due to requirements for submissions for fantasy and the fact that the people that are buying my book have requested that I at least try to pursue the traditional route in case my book can be made into a movie. So that means I need to add-on, which isn't a big deal but I was happy with my current length (74k) as a series size. I like the 300 page size (as most of my friends do) since I read a lot of YA and like the faster pace of them.

I wish I had subscribed to the Writer's Digest tutorials before I started writing, because it would have saved me soooo much time and I could have carved the story to fit the genre I think sells best instead of letting the story dictate the genre I am forced to be in. Case in point, I was in 4 bookstores in 3 states today and NOT ONE had a fantasy section. There was fiction and YA. The fiction sections had an enormous range of the types of books within it and your book kind of gets lost in the bookstore pile compared to the smaller but more prominent YA section. I would not have noticed or thought of the business side of it as much prior to the webinars. Kind of off topic but good food for thought as we craft our novels to sell. If you aren't subscribed to them, I'd highly recommend these for learning the various aspects of the writing/publishing business. Especially for those that might be in a group such as the one you are trying to form.

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Moni12 » May 12th, 2012, 7:50 am

I'm interested. I'm just starting a new job, so I may be a tad slow with readings at first depending when we start. I just rewrote my "baby" in a different form of fantasy. If I had to compare my work to any author it'd be Neil Gaiman (although I'm not sure how like his work mine really is). I just finished the first draft and it's way too short. Right now I'm in the process of a first edit. I want it critiqued by strangers, but it will also be going to my sister somewhat soon (she's my toughest critic).

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Hillsy » May 13th, 2012, 1:07 pm

OK - Well we've got a start: Brenda, Moni, and myself. Be really good if we can get a couple more, 6+, and we can get things moving.....

So, how about mirroring the lectures pretty closly, everyone setting up a live journal account and posting each 1000 words on there? Allows people to read back over stuff (hell, I know some of my "scenes" are like 4-5K long and trying to jump into the middle of them would be painful) as well as having the friend limitation functions Brandon talked about. Then people can put replies in the comments (however they want - in-line notations, an essay style thing, attaching an amended word file.....whatever). This is only a rough idea so if people use google hangouts or stuff like that and think it'll work better then we can go with that (I'm only getting the ball rolling here, I'm not running the show).

Also would be interested on other peoples thoguhts on,1) What do we think would be an ideal group size to start? 6,7,8? 2) submitting a 1000 word proposal first, just detailing story length, themes, target audience - that sort of thing 3) trying to sort out a way to meet in a chat room somewhere onces a week/fortnight/month just to back and forth on the works - like a real workshop.

Anyways - consider ball rolled a bit....=0)
Last edited by Hillsy on May 14th, 2012, 7:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Joe Kosh » May 14th, 2012, 3:33 am

I think I'm unclear as to what this group will do. It seems to me that 1,000 words a week is good if you are just starting to write a novel or are busy and have limited time to devote to writing. I'm unfamiliar with the lectures you refer to which may be the source of my confusion I suppose.

I have a completed novel now and at 1,000 words a week, it would take me near 2 years to have my work looked at. By that time, I will have completed 1-2 more novels. I think perhaps I'm looking for a more aggressive group in working on each other's material. I can easily read and critique 5-10,000 words a week.

My goal was to join a group that is ready to publish and wanted to work on polishing their manuscripts, synopses, query letters, etc. Will this be the purpose of this group?

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Hillsy
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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Hillsy » May 14th, 2012, 7:02 am

The intention was to get the ball rolling. 1000 words is a nice, easy introduction and everyone will have plenty of time to learn as they go along. I myself have never been in a critique group, so even the prospect of critiquing 5K a week total (not per person: a group of 6 people means critiquing 5x5K which is like a quarter of a novel every week) sounds challenging to me. I was just following the guidelines on the lectures, found here:
http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/b ... ss-format/

But hey, if you're after a more beta-ry check then cool and good luck...=0)

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Moni12 » May 14th, 2012, 9:29 am

I like the idea of starting out at 1000 words a week. Seems like a good jumping off point. But I'm a tad concerned about posting on LiveJournal. I've never used it, but I'm a little uncomfortable having my work out there so anyone can see it. Or is there a way to limit who can see it?

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Hillsy
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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by Hillsy » May 14th, 2012, 9:43 am

Apparently so - this is why Sanderson explicitly said he wanted to use LJ in the class - apparently you set it so that only your friends see the post, then friend only those in the group - simples..=0)

Of course if you can somehow get Sanderson himself to sign up........

Hehe

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Supergroup

Post by dios4vida » May 14th, 2012, 12:09 pm

I am also more comfortable with around 1K a week per person. I can breeze through a completed ms in two days for a line edit, no problem, but that's if I dedicate all of my time to it and am willing to deal with a migraine for the next day or two. Granted that's an extreme scenario, one I only do for one-on-one critique partner stuff, but my point (I promise I have one - bear with me, I haven't had my coffee yet!) is that while I could do more than that, the slower pace would allow for me to get a lot of writing done as well as critiquing and editing. That's what I'm looking for - a group that works together on some edits, critiques, getting feedback and growing as a writer, without hindering my day-to-day writing routine. I think Hillsy and Moni feel the same, from what y'all have said, and I hope that you find something more at the speed you're looking for, Joe.

I'll have to go through the lecture's instructions again, just so that I (can pretend that I) know what to do. When were you thinking of "starting up", as in when should we have our first 1K posted and when do we want to have our first "deadline" for the critiques? Are we waiting until we have more people?

As to how to "get together" - I'm not sure on that one. I'm on an array of messenger programs but I don't know how to do a group chat thing on any of them. When we did the BransforumFest in Vegas we Skyped with Cookie, who couldn't end up making it. That worked very well. I haven't a clue how to use Skype but I'm sure I could figure it out if everyone liked the idea.

Also, when would we want to plan those times? I'm not sure where you are, Moni, but I know between Hillsy and I we're already dealing with some pretty major time zone differences. My schedule's easy to work around since I don't have a day job, but finding some time where we're all online might be interesting.

Umm...I think that's all I have for now. :)
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Hillsy
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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by Hillsy » May 14th, 2012, 6:51 pm

1) The 1K a week thing can be quite fluid too I guess....I mean if I start being able to do a decent critique in ten mins, then we'll see....but yeah 1K to start is, well, a start.
2) Personally, I'd like another couple of people before we get going (obviously we don't wanna lose momentum n all dat jaz), but we'll play it by ear after a week or so. In other words, if you know anyone......
3) Chat discussions - well it was just an idea i threw out there, just as a back n forth.....I mean here in the UK I'm not going to bed til 1am on a normal weeknight and I do an 8-4 office job, so I don't sleep a crap-ton anyways. But I just kinda thought about it as a discussion-y type thing just for a bit more energy, incentivising deadlines n that. But yeah, it's a suck it and see thing.

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by GaoYuQing » May 15th, 2012, 10:27 am

Well I'm interested, though I confess I'm a little confused about how this would all work, being unfamiliar with the lecture series in question. Perhaps you could give a quick walkthrough of how this exchange would work? I'm kind of with Joe though, I feel like I'm in the final polishing stage before submission, and at 109k words, 1k a week is a bit slow for me (I want to do some pruning on this final passthrough to get the wordcount down). I had 2 beta readers, but one of them has fallen off the map, and the other has read my developing MS through twice now as I worked on it and I want to give her a break. I'm hoping to get some fresh eyes looking at this because at this point, any cut or change is going to hurt, and I need some objective opinions.
My MS is an adult fantasy. You can get a sense of it in my developing query letter at viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4813
Once this one is out of the way, the 1k a week sounds like a nice idea for the next book however since that's still mostly in the original draft and needs lots of work. Hey Joe, perhaps if this program doesn't work out for us, we could connect if we're looking for the same thing? This would be my third beta partnership.

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by Hillsy » May 15th, 2012, 11:22 am

Hi Gao,

The lectures I referenced are as follows:
http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/b ... ss-format/
http://www.writeaboutdragons.com/home/b ... ssentials/

Basically, post 1000 words on a secure livejournal once a week, the other group members all critique it, you critique all your group members similar postings. Rinse repeat.

Glad to have anyone aboard, so just let us know if you're interested...=0)

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by GaoYuQing » May 15th, 2012, 11:41 am

Thanks. I think I may pass for the first book, but come revisit this for the second. Don't know when that will be though. Might be sooner rather than later. I'm currently bouncing between revising the second, while polishing the first and don't want to overextend myself. I'm considering applying to the Dreaming in Ink group http://www.dreaminginink.com since that does something similar to what you're suggesting and is already established.

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Re: Contructing a Fantasy Super writing group

Post by Hillsy » May 16th, 2012, 6:41 am

I looked at Dreaming in Ink, but It's very big, very varied, and very..errr....vague(?)

Speaking personally, one of the reasons I've foregone online writing group websites (thingies) in the past is because, well, I worry that people will do the bare minimum in expectation of chumps like me who can't abide to do anything half cocked. Any critiques I receive will just be a rough summation of tepid thoughts padded out with some saccharine encouraging rhetoric - ergo: useless at best, actively obstructive at worst.

So when I watched the Brandon Sanderson thing, the slow pace appealed to my sense that it's short enough for anyone to do more than the minimum. It's also close knit enough that you'll build emotional investment in doing a good job, diverse enough that you can get a decent number of opinions to balance against each other, and structured enough that everyones all pushing as hard at everyone elses cart. Then there's the fact you get to know someones personal preferences, personality, if they tend to exaggerate or downplay; basically more things to help devine additional information for each critique. Having 5 different people critique a different part of your novel each week lacks a good continuity. And what happens if you're unlucky enough that the probablities of a mass system means you're the peron who gets 1 critique a week, while others get 8 or 9?

But yeah, that's a personal preference thing. Interestingly though, Peggy eddleman on the most recent Sanderson lecture said that the odds for "making it" with a constant writing group increase like ninefold, which is a lot in this business.

Anyways, good luck with the novel...=0)

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