Lovely time last night at the Reading Writers group, a very successful bunch who invited me along to talk to them about the books and the publishing process. I think I used up all my train catching efficency in Germany because I ended up trying to catch a train from Waterloo when I should have been in Paddington so was feeling hot and sweaty and flustered by the time I got to Reading. They were very kind to me when I did finally get there, then they even bought all the books I had with me. There were even biscuits.
I like talking to writers’ groups very much, they ask excellent questions and the fact they are at a group shows that they are aware of the craft and graft side of writing. We talked about how critiquing works in their group, and they have the really sensible rule that for the initial part of the discussion the author can’t say anything. Sounds a bit harsh, but if you don’t have that rule people are likely to jump in to defend their work or explain it and you can end up with a pointless to and fro that eats the time available for interesting criticisms. It’s a brave thing to have your work challenged and interrogated in front of you, but I’ve no doubt it makes for better writing.