Write or Die: A Science Fiction & Fantasy Writing Group

Who can join?

       The membership is totally open to anyone who writes science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Our group includes experienced writers with decades of writing experience behind them, and newcomers who have yet to see anything in print.

When do you meet?

       WorD meets every other Tuesday (with some exceptions--see the meeting schedule). Meetings normally start at 6:45 PM and end at 9:00 PM. The group frequently goes out to dinner together at a local restaurant after the meeting.

What exactly do you do?

       We're writers of science fiction, fantasy and horror, and we gather together to share our work with each other...so it can be destroyed before our very eyes. BE WARNED: as a Critique Group, we will criticize your work. We look at it not to tell you how great it is--honestly, that's why you have a mommy--but rather we look for mistakes and problems with your writing so that you can make it better ... and we will not hesitate to tell you when we find them. This is an extremely painful process, and not for the easily insulted. If you can't face a professional review of your work by people trying to point out flaws for you to fix, then we may not be the right group for you.

So your group will teach me how to be a writer?

       No. There are a number of writing programs at the local colleges and universities in the area that will do this for you. We expect you to already be a writer of Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror, who knows something of the business and the craft of writing, who is looking for help with their work that they wish to submit to market. We're not here to teach writing, and NO, we will NOT reveal to you the secret handshake that will get your work automatically yanked from the slushpile and published by all those stupid, short-sighted editors who are currently ignoring your obvious greatness, so don't ask us to. None of us got published because we knew someone, or went to the right schools, or made the secret "professional writer" identification mark of two red dashes and one black dot in the upper lefthand corner on the back of the cover letter which let the editor know we were "real" writers. We got there by hard work, studying the craft, and slogging through untold form rejections and long, painful rewrites and then getting our work back out into the market again. In the end, writers get published because they work hard at it.

What if I don't write a lot?

       WorD has no restrictions on its membership based on writing or lack thereof, so you can join whether you only write occasionally or if you write fairly often.

I don't write at all, but I really want to hang out with writers!

       If you don't actually write for publication in the professional market, you won't fit in with us. Others have tried this road with us before, and it always ends badly. Save yourself the heartache.

How long will the group work on my story?

       We will spend only one meeting on it; once you get our critiques, it is up to you to act on them, taking or ignoring whatever advice you wish from what we offer. We don't look at stories again after they have passed through the group once, in order to free up space for other stories (yours or someone else's). For this reason we will not look at 'works-in-progress', but rather only at completely finished, "I-want-to-send-this-to-an-editor-tomorrow" stories. Once we critique your work, you can't run it back through the group a second time.

But I don't know how to critique! What do I do?

       Hey, nobody joined our group knowing how to critique; read over our procedure page and try this link. Attend a couple of our meetings and observe how the rest of the group does it. Critiques don't necessarily have to be detailed; simply pointing out what areas you liked and what areas you didn't like or found confusing, can be a big help to an author.

Who came up with this thing (and why)?

       Diane Turnshek is our beloved founder and frequently-late person. Because she had no one to critique the first draft of her first story, she created the WorD group.

Anything I should know before I join?