Because my blog posts on critique groups will appear on The Blood-Red Pencil blog today and tomorrow, I thought I'd talk about the group I've belonged to since early 2004.
Toward the end of 2003, local author Brian Kaufman taught a novel-writing class for all ages at our Senior Center. At the end of the class, several of us formed a critique group in an effort to stay motivated and to improve our writing skills. We named our group Raintree Writers, because the center where we first met was located on Raintree Drive.
Although we've had a couple of members come and go since the beginning, we're now a solid group of six mixed-genre writers, most writing novels. Our newest member is Brian Kaufman, who taught the original class. Author of The Breach and The Apocalypse Parable, Brian is currently writing textbooks, which we don't have to read, as well as a horror novel that he's submitting to our group for critique.
April Joitel finished her first novel, Bobbing for Watermelons, and was a finalist in the women's fiction category at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference. She is now working on a full-length creative nonfiction book. Melissa Pattison's genre of choice is horror. Beth Marquart is writing historical fiction set during World War II. Carolyn Yalin is working on a mainstream novel set in Canada. A former member, Sidna Rachid, previously completed The Concrete Affair, which won the Pike's Peak Writer's Conference competition in 2007 in the mystery category. And there's me, author of the Sylvia and Willie mystery series.
The group currently meets every other week. We generally follow the submission and critiquing procedures I outline in The Blood-Red Pencil posts. I'm glad I didn't have to go through the writing and revising process alone. I hope all of you who are writers belong to, or soon find, a supportive and serious group like Raintree Writers.