Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Writers' readers' group

As far as I can find, there are no writers' groups in Palmerston North (barring our NaNoWriMo group).

As far as I can find, there are no book clubs in Palmerston North (barring the City Library one, which seems to be a turn-up-with-random-book rather than an actual discussion of a set book).

I think this is appalling. I'd like to be a part of either one of these types of groups; but, barring online communities, there are no Palmerston North-specific book clubs or writers' groups, that I can find.

Want to help me make one?

I'm tossing around the idea of forming a combined book club/writers' group, meeting every alternating fortnight or so (e.g. the book club would meet every second Tuesday of the month; the writers' group would meet every fourth Tuesday of the month). Thus, while anyone could of course join both groups, you could just as easily join only one.

The writers' group would be a critique group, for more serious writers. There might not be a lot of "serious" creative writers in Palmy, but I've heard the ideal size for a critique group is 4-6 people; and I think Palmerston North can do that.

Writers' critique group: This could work in two ways. Each writer could bring their WIP along, read it out to the group (scary but helpful), and have it tactfully but honestly critiqued by the group. Alternatively, each month we could give one writer the "floor", and all help critique that writer's work. (Ideas? Suggestions?) This would be for creative writing only in any format. (Any genre; short stories, novel chapters, etc; fiction or non-fiction — as long as it's creative writing.

Book club: Every member could take turns suggesting a book to read and discuss at the following meeting. I think it would be neat if we could focus on New Zealand authors (buy NZ made!), but we wouldn't limit it to that. Again, any genre would be fine; if someone suggests a book in a genre that Person A doesn't normally read, it's a chance for Person A to enlarge their reading horizons.

I think both groups would be great for meeting new people; for connecting with friends you don't often see; and for just finding out about new books out there. It's always great to find (or meet!) a new author — and sometimes not in the genre you "normally" read, too.

Would anyone in Palmy be interested? Alternatively, does anyone who's not in Palmy think this sounds like a good idea? If you know any writers in Palmy who might be interested, spread the word! Let me know your feedback, and I'll look at taking this further.


anna said...

Good luck. I'm not in Palmy, but I'm a member of two irl writers' groups in Welly. You seem to have a lot of the details thought through, but I thought I'd tell you how we approach them.

My first group is open to all who wish to come along, there's a strong mix of genres and types of writing, and who turns up can be quite irregular (usually about 7 from a list of 15-20 or so). We meet every fortnight, and those who have brought writing pass round copies and read it aloud, and then everyone else gives feedback.

The second group is more closeknit; we are formed around a current interest, all know each other any way and membership is by invitation only. There are around six of us, meeting monthly, and most people turn up most months. We have an informal procedure which is that every member brings something to the group - this can be writing for feedback (which we don't tend to read aloud), a discussion point related to writing, or share something by someone else they've read.

I think most groups naturally take their own form, though it's always good to have some idea of where you want it to go. Good luck with setting them up - online groups are great, but I'd be quite lost without my real life ones.

Evil Editor said...

If you'll send me your mailing address, Ms. Clamp is prepared to get you a copy of the August book.

Jen Lussing said...

Hi, I'm in Palmy and I have been thinking about starting or joining a writers' group. My email address is Please contact me if you are still interested in this.


MiriamS said...

Did this group happen? Have just come across this while looking for a writers' group in Palmy.

Ruth (Book Focus) said...

This specific group didn't happen, but there is a group of writers that (as far as I'm aware) meet up twice a month in Palmy. I don't live in Palmy any more so I'm not sure!

If you leave a comment with your email address, I'll get in touch with them and give them your email address so they can give you the details :) (I won't publish the comment so your email address will stay private.)

Hope this helps!

SilverArrow said...

Hi, i'm interested in the writers club in palmy. My email is if you could get them in touch with me it wouls be great.

Robert Silberbauer said...

Howdy All
Myself, I've never been apart of a writer/reading group and I'm a little uncertain what it involves or specifically what you are interested in with your planned group. I am however interested in writing fictional stories of several genres and potentially sharing it with a group of people who have done the same.

In all honesty I have no particular interest in a 'book club' of such as generally the books that will be talked about are already famous enough to get attention. What I'm interested in is sharing our OWN stories. Maybe its just me

Anyway I'm not sure what particular age and gender group you're wanting for this group but I'm 24 and Male.

Most of my projects are relating to novels and while I have friends that read it, I'd like an honest group who can be honest and unbiased in their critique.


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