Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Wordcraft – Need a writing group? Try one of these

Last week’s post about writing contests and seeing how many of them are sponsored by organizations got me thinking about writing groups. So, do you have a tribe, a writing tribe, that is? That group of people you can feel comfortable baring your writing soul to? I’ve tried a lot in the North Texas area, and I’ve got a few suggestions. The ones that follow are groups I’ve belonged to or visited or sometimes just ones who sound interesting, but I’d be happy to hear your suggestions as well.

Dallas Mystery Writers – This is the Dallas chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. However, membership in the national MWA is not required. In lieu of annual dues, the Dallas chapter charges $5 to attend meetings the first Saturday of each month, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. at Texas Land & Cattle, 812 South Central Expressway, Richardson, Texas. (Cash only, exact change is appreciated.) Monthly meetings include discussions by writers in the mystery/thriller/suspense genres, craft discussions, and critiques. Members often stay for lunch to continue their discussions. For information, see http://dallasmysterywriters.com or contact james@gaskin.com/.

Dallas Screenwriters Association – I don’t have screenwriting aspirations, but what writer in any genre doesn’t write dialogue? And who doesn’t wonder what that dialogue sounds like when real people speak it? I dropped by one of the DSA’s monthly screen reading sessions recently to find out. You have to be a member to get up to 10 pages of work read by local actors, but anybody is welcome to listen to the readings, held the last Tuesday of each month in the community room at HalfPrice Books, 5803 E. Northwest Highway, in Dallas. Members who want their pages read must bring them by 6 p.m. Casting follows immediately, and readings start at 7 p.m.

Want more? Join at $85 yearly for free meetings on craft the third Friday of each month, as well as other benefits. Nonmembers may drop in on meetings for $10 at the door. Discounted memberships are available for students and additional family members. See www.dallasscreenwriters.com/.

DFW Writers Workshop – This is one of the first places I found when I started writing fiction. The workshop meets every Wednesday at the Simmons Center, 508 Simmons St. in Euless, holiday or not. (So you desperately need to escape family the day before Thanksgiving, or whenever? Tell them you’ve got to go to your writing group!) Meetings run 7 to 10 p.m., but visitors should arrive by 6:45 to sign in to the guestbook. Want to talk more writing? Follow the group to a nearby IHOP restaurant to continue the discussions after hours. Annual dues are $100. Or try a 30-day trial membership for $25. Nonmembers may also visit free twice yearly to observe, although participation is limited to members.

The workshop breaks into small critique groups with everybody reading and commenting. And oh, yes, DFWWW also sponsors a wonderful annual conference (which I’ll post more about next week). For more information, see https://dfwwritersworkshop.wordpress.com/.

Sisters in Crime North Dallas – This local chapter of the national Sisters in Crime organization meets the fourth Sunday of each month (note: no May meeting), 2- 4 p.m. in the fourth floor McCallum Room of Frisco Library, 6101 Frisco Square Boulevard, Frisco, Texas. Meetings include networking, craft, and speakers (learn about polygraphs, aka lie detectors, from a DEA agent at the June meeting). Annual membership is $25. Chapter membership is open to any national member of SINC. See www.sistersincrimenorthdallas.com/.

Writers’ Guild of Texas – Meets the third Monday of each month (except January, when the meeting moves to the fourth Monday due to a holiday), 7-8:30 p.m. in the basement of the Richardson Library, 900 Civic Center Drive, Richardson. The WGT’s critique group meets the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. and online critique groups are also available. WGT also sponsors semiannual writing workshops. Annual membership is $25. See http://writersguildoftexas.org for information and lists of even more writing groups to check out! 

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