Build and refine your creative skills at Clean Prose's Writing Groups

At Clean Prose we know how valuable it is to be able to share your work with a trusted and supportive community. So we have established four Writing Groups for different genres.

These will each be for 8-15 people and will run from 10th February until 5th April 2020. The eight-week term is £30 per member (this works out as £3.75 per 2hr session) and includes comprehensive guidelines on how to constructively critique your colleagues’ work. This kind of workshop is perfect for writers with a work-in-progress that they are either drafting or editing.

We’ll give you a format to get started, but our workshops are peer-led, so you can shape your experience to suit your writing requirements.

We have assigned the available sessions based on some of the feedback we got from interested writers. If none of the sessions work for you this term keep an eye out for future groups, we hope to hold them several times a year.

These spaces will be available on a first come first served basis and each group will have access to an online forum and supporting materials. Choose your preferred group and book here.

Be sure to have a look at our Writing Group FAQ’s or contact ‘write@cleanprose.co.uk‘ with any questions.

FAQs

Read through our FAQS below to learn more about what you can expect when joining a Clean Prose Writing Group. If you have any further questions or can’t find the answer to your question feel free to contact us.

Not at all! Our writing groups are open to anyone and everyone who is an aspiring or established writer.

Each week, two to three members of the writing group will contribute some work to the group for feedback. This work should be submitted in good time so that the group has time to read it and formulate their thoughts. During the session the workshopped writer will then receive constructive feedback on their work from each member.

You can submit any piece of writing you are working on, up to the agreed word limit. (We suggest 1500-2500 words, but you can set a limit to suit the group) Please keep to the genre or style of the group, ie. don’t submit a piece of poetry to the playwriting group. It’s best if the excerpt is a draft that you are actively working on, rather than a polished piece, as the feedback will be more useful.

There are several ways for the group to organise this. For the first session, it would be great to have two volunteers to submit. These two should email their work to the rest of the group for feedback. The email addresses of each member will be shared with the whole group, so make sure you sign up with an email address that you are happy to share. 

For subsequent sessions, the group may choose to continue emailing work, or use an online platform like Edmodo. A number of options will be outlined in the starter pack you will receive on signing up to the group.

Clean Prose writers’ groups are peer-led. This means that nobody is officially running the group. A benefit of this is that the group can decide what sort of format works for them, and can shape the group to suit their needs. However, a leaderless group can often be disorganised and chaotic. To counter this, we suggest nominating a chairperson for each session, to oversee the proceedings and implement your agreed upon guidelines. This person might be nominated by the group, or a volunteer, the same person each week or a different person. There is more information about leading the group in our starter pack.

We know that life can get busy, so it’s fine if you are not able to make every session. However, it can be frustrating for your colleagues if they have to miss out on what could be valuable feedback when some members can’t be present. It’s also bad etiquette to only show up when your work is being critiqued. It would be best to keep absences to an absolute minimum, and if you do miss a session, to email any feedback to the workshopped writers that you were unable to deliver in person.

The format and style of the feedback is something that can be decided by the group. You might choose to annotate a word document using ‘track changes’ or to write a separate document outlining your thoughts. It is worth noting that rewriting another writers’ work is considered poor etiquette.

This is one of the hardest, yet most valuable aspects of a writing group. Writing is subjective, and it’s not uncommon to receive conflicting opinions about a piece of writing. The trick is to accept what your colleagues are telling you and to take as much from it as you can. Remember, you don’t have to take anyone’s advice, but it is often useful to hear honest feedback and to try and think objectively about what your colleagues have to contribute. Having said that, it’s important to create a kind, respectful environment, where difficult opinions can be shared in a constructive manner. You can implement some ground rules if you like, and ask your chair person to enforce them.

You won’t always enjoy everything you read. Regardless of whether something is to your personal taste, you can still provide useful feedback. Consider what you can objectively critique. You might focus on the description or character development. Try to be constructive and kind in your feedback, and be mindful that not everyone has the same tastes.

It might be worth considering what it is you would like to work on within your writing. Are you looking for a general overview of your piece? First impressions on style and story? Or are you concerned about a particular character arc or plot point? Don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues to critique specific elements of your writing. You can request that the group focus on whatever aspect you might be struggling with. If you feel there is nothing for you to change or develop, you might consider submitting a rougher piece of work.

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