What I have learned by joining a writing group.

Two years ago I joined The San Antonio Writer’s Guild. I have learned much from the monthly meetings with both independently published authors and authors with contracts.Then there are the weekly Critique meetings where your work is read aloud by another member then opinions are given on it by the others. There are a few things I have learned that can be put in little rules. I thought I’d pass these on to my friends who want to write a memoir or short story or even a novel. This is what I have learned:

1. You must write to edit. If there’s nothing on paper you can’t fix what’s wrong.

2. If you mention bringing a gun with you, you must also use it or take it with you at some point.

3. There are always too many thats in the world.

4. Do not use the same word four times in the same paragraph.

5. Do your research!

6. Do not have too many people in a scene at the same time, you will confuse your audience. This includes dogs and horses.

7. Show, don’t tell. Let your character(s) feel free to walk around the room and do things. Don’t stick him in a chair and make him pontificate. I have noticed that some men have trouble accepting multitasking by the women characters. But the women will get it.

8. For us old folks, only use one space after a period and Oxford commas are now looked down upon.

9. If you use a mythical creature, be certain you know the myth.Fairys, elves, leprechauns, trolls, pookas and gorgons are all very different things.

10. And for pity’s sake. Do your research!

Of course, this is not all by a long shot, but if you start here, you’re on the right track.

But most of all it is your story. You can do whatever you want, so don’t take any critiques personally. Write for yourself and your audience but do us all a favor and do it the best you can.Good luck. Go to your yellow legal pad/typewriter/dictaphone/computer and write.

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