Writers Group and Copies


What I’m about to complain about didn’t happen tonight, but just having writer’s group made me think of it.

In two of my writing groups, the author brings copies of their work. It’s read aloud while group members have a copy in front of them to write comments on. After the piece is read aloud, there is time for silent note taking. It’s a time to expand those notes you jotted down or to check certain things (did he really use “totalitarian” 5 times in 2 paragraphs? I thought it said that Sarah did that…did I read that wrong?) or even to write a wrap up.

I think this is a great system, but sometimes the author doesn’t have enough copies of their piece for everyone. Hey, it happens and it’s not a big deal. Two critiquers can easily pair up and write their comments on the same paper. Not ideal…do we bump pens and elbows trying to write at the same time, or does one person write and listen while the other has to remember where certain word choices irked them so they can go back and comment during the silent time? But, like I said, not a big deal. If I team up with someone, I may not be able to write notes as detailed as I’d like, but I get my main points across (and some authors may actually prefer that!).

So, what am I complaining about? Sometimes, some writers will come up short and yet still keep a copy for themselves.


I understand how it can be helpful. You hear something that doesn’t work and the page is right there for you to mark up. BUT you know the piece. The others around the table don’t. Personally, I find it more helpful when new eyes and ears make comments. I can jot down notes on a separate piece of paper and go back afterward to add my notes on someone else’s copy. I feel that by hogging a copy for themselves, those writers are tying the hands of their fellow group members and, in turn, won’t get as detailed or helpful feedback.

Is this a “I don’t do it that way so no one else should” problem that I alone have or does anyone else feel the same way?

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