Recently three other writers and I formed a writing group. Our initial goal was to support each other’s efforts in mystery writing.
Good mystery writing requires lots of planning – knowing the crime scene, knowing the victim and knowing the sleuth. It requires carefully planting the clues and the red herrings. Equally, it requires knowing the cast of characters who the sleuth will encounter.
Because we’re all speculative writers (science fiction and fantasy) with a goal to write cross genre, none of us really knew how to write a mystery. We decided that collectively, we were stronger when we shared what we knew. Then, good fortune smiled on us and sent us a mentor who shared her knowledge with us.
When our group meets, we each have half an hour to talk about our project – about where it’s at, where we want to go. Sometimes we talk about an aspect of craft. But always we always end up brainstorming and making suggestions which allow us to see creative options to enhance our stories. We do this by asking questions about the story – plot, setting and characters and sometimes we provide options to solve story problems.
How does group think relate to writing momentum?
We know we’ve got someone to help us when we get stuck.
We encourage each other and we expand our craft.
We learn new skills from each other.
And we are accountable. We set goals. Then we write to meet them.
But most importantly, through group think we don’t let a story problem or craft issue slow us down. Problems don’t have a chance to give us writer’s block because we know we’ve got a safe and supportive place to work out the story problem.
However, this is not a critique group. Crit groups have their place, but much later in the process. Eventually, we may read each other’s work and provide crits. But for now, this is an imagination group – a story building, not refining group.
Support. Accountability. Brain storming. Problem solving. Those are the momentum builders. As is laughter, enthusiasm and encouragement because when one of us succeeds, we all succeed.
If you’re having problem staying on track and getting the words out, start or find a support group which will encourage, share craft and brainstorm. From this words will flow and stories will be written.