A Writers Group Is an Author’s Best Friend
I can’t deny how much I’ve learned from the many writing classes, workshops and conferences I’ve attended, as well as the scores of writing books and magazines I’ve read. However, all of those resources pale when placed alongside my wonderful, indispensable writing group! Over the years, Aubrey Writers has become my writing wellspring, my school, my stage, my cheering section, my rock, and so much more.
As a writer, I wouldn’t have an ounce of confidence or courage without their constant honesty, support, and encouragement. … Like when I worried that my opening scene lacked energy, the group gently confirmed I was correct, but quickly offered up workable suggestions for ramping up the action. … Or when I was having trouble choreographing a fight scene, they helped me work it out, blow by blow. And … when I introduced a key piece of the plot too soon in the storyline, they showed me how to maximize its impact by moving it to a later chapter. And this is how it is for everyone in the group. Individually, we are pretty good writers, but collectively … we’re dynamite!
The founding of Aubrey Writers dates back to 2001, when I took a fiction-writing class at Indiana University, Indianapolis, and became fast friends with two of my classmates—Chip Mann and Mary Marlow. When the course ended, we couldn’t … wouldn’t say goodbye. So we formed a writers group, which we later named after Chip’s daughter, who was born while the semester-long class was in progress.
Since the group’s founding, we’ve welcomed and said goodbye to a number of writers. Today, Aubrey Writers has a membership of eight — Bob Beilouny, Tim Byers, Margie Porter, Kathy Smith, Larry Sells and, of course, Mary, Chip and me. Everyone brings fascinating life experience and a unique perspective to the group. We meet monthly at a suburban Indianapolis bookstore, and between meetings, we stay in touch, as friends tend to do. Indeed, we are very good friends, bound by our fondness for one another, as well as our love for writing and desire to improve and succeed.
The Aubrey Writers group has stayed together and met once each month for 13 years, and it’s not by some fluke. We decided early on to make it work by taking the group and our writing seriously, and by making them a priority. That’s the best advice I can offer anyone who is part of a writers’ group or thinking about starting one—make it a priority.
If you don’t have a group already, I urge you to either start one or seek one out by contacting any of the following community resources:
> Local library
> Area bookstores
> Schools (high schools, tech schools, colleges) that offer
noncredit creative writing classes
noncredit creative writing classes
> Writers organizations
> Senior centers
> Chamber of Commerce
Critiquing and analyzing other people’s writing—what works, what doesn’t—is the best way to improve your own writing. There is no better place to do that than with a small circle of like-minded friends who welcome and embrace you, while they provide a safe place to bare your soul and share your writing.
My group, the Aubrey Writers, has been meeting once a month for 13 years. Our members are, from left, Bob Beilouny, Chip Mann, Larry Sells, me, Tim Byers, Margie Porter, and Mary Marlow. Absent from the picture is Kathy Smith. Individually, we’re pretty good writers; but collectively, we’re dynamite!
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Crystal Cropper, the protagonist for Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies (due out October 15 from Cup of Tea Books) is the Baby Boomer-age newspaper editor for the Elmwood Gazette. She has a nose for news and a penchant for sticking it into places that smell like the leftovers in the back of her fridge. Fortunately for her, what her nose doesn’t sniff out, her best confidential informant — 80-year-old cleaning lady Gertie Tyroo — sweeps her way. Too bad Gertie’s latest hot tip has landed her in a coma, courtesy of an unknown assailant. Now Crystal must follow the trail of dirt and gossip right to the doorsteps of several prominent local families to solve a decades-old murder and the disappearance of a young boy . . .
About This Author
Janis Thornton is a freelance writer, personal historian, and award-winning journalist. She is the author of two local history books, Images of America: Tipton County and Images of America: Frankfort. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Indiana Writers Center, Association of Personal Historians, and the Midwest Writers Workshop Planning Committee. She lives in a small, Indiana town not unlike Elmwood. Dust Bunnies and Dead Bodies is her debut novel.
Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B00E5UTSFY
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