About the participants
How many people are in a writing circle?
A minimum of 4, for a variety of voices and experiences, and a maximum of 8, to ensure that everyone gets plenty of individualised feedback.
I have never taken a writing class, is this programme for me?
If you are curious about writing and willing to try out different activities to keep your pen moving, then yes, this is for you. Novices and those with rusty pens are welcome. When starting out, it can be a tremendous help to be part of a community of others who are also committed to becoming better writers. If you used to write, this might be just the programme to get the ink flowing again.
I am an experienced writer, is this programme for me?
I believe experienced writers can benefit from joining a group and seeing how other writers work and develop their pieces. If you enjoy working with writers of various levels and are interested in sharing your processes as well as your products, then a Writing Circle will give you a forum for discussion and growth.
If you are considering joining, it may be helpful to read how Writing Circles differ from traditional writing workshops.
What types of writing will we do?
We will explore a variety of genres including memoir, personal essay, poetry, and short fiction. If some of these are new to you, this is a great opportunity to stretch your writing muscles and try something new. Many writers work across several genres, finding it deepens their writing practice as a whole. What will you write about? That's up to you. But perhaps reading this post will give you a few ideas: But what will I write about?
About the programme
Will you be lecturing about elements of craft such as plot, setting, voice, dialogue, etc?
We may address these, but not necessarily in a strict, week-by-week sequence. My approach will be to diagnose and respond to each writer’s need. For example, if you are working on a piece of writing with a lot of dialogue, then I might focus my written responses on the dialogue or point you to specific resources. But another person may need advice on plot structure or imagery.
This is not a traditional ‘how-to’ writing class. I don’t lecture. I don’t have the final word – you do. My role as a facilitator during the sessions is to keep the atmosphere purposeful, lively and engaged. My role as a teacher is to help you cultivate your own voice, your specific stories.
Are we expected to write outside of class?
As with any art, the more you practice, the better you become. So any writing you do outside of the sessions is valuable. We will share strategies for finding time and space to write.
However, I understand we have busy, hectic lives. It may be the case that devoting one morning a week to writing is the commitment you can make at the moment. No worries! I have designed the programme so that if you write during the sessions themselves, you will still finish the course with several starts on possible pieces and at least one piece that you have taken from the blank page to a finished story.
Will we be learning about submissions, publications and literary agents?
No, not formally. We can chat about possible places to submit work for publication, but the emphasis of these programmes is on the act of writing.
What kind of feedback will I be getting on my work?
I will provide individualised feedback on up to 3000 words of your work over the duration of the programme. You might choose to revisit a piece several times or you might prefer to have feedback on 3-4 shorter pieces.
One of the strengths of joining a Writing Circle is that you will get varied feedback on your work at different stages of your writing process, not only from me but also from fellow participants.
I’ve never critiqued anyone else’s writing. How will I know what to say?
An important element of being in a Writing Circle is developing our abilities to respond helpfully and appropriately to others’ work, as well as deepening our own writing. Each week, I will introduce methods of feedback tailored to whatever stage we are at in the creative process. You can use these as frameworks for your responses to others’ work.
For example, when we are brainstorming and drafting, we’ll focus on helping ideas and themes emerge. After we have breathed rough drafts into being, we’ll consider aspects of craft to make our writing more powerful. Towards the end of the process, we’ll do detail work, looking for rough edges to smooth, dull surfaces to shine.
What happens during the sessions. Can you tell me more?
I’d be pleased to. I suggest you browse through a few of the posts about why I created Writing Circles, what happens in a typical session, how a writing circle differs from a writing workshop and other topics. Also, you are always welcome to send me an email with questions.
What if I have to miss a session?
Oh, that would be sad! We would miss you and your input! I will make sure you get copies of any materials distributed so that you can recreate your own session later. Unfortunately, there are no refunds for missed sessions.
I cannot attend the current programmes. Will there be other Writing Circles?
How do I pay?
Just click on the 'Add to Cart' button at the bottom of the course description to get the process started. This will take you through an online payment process. If you prefer to pay via cheque or BACS, contact me and I'll get details to you.
What is your refund policy?
Full payment is required to confirm your registration, which includes a 25% non-refundable deposit. After the first session, if you feel that the programme is not a good match for you, you may request a refund minus the deposit. Refund requests must be made within 24 hours of the first session.
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If there's anything you're still wondering about, please ask!