A writers’ circle is a group of writers who join for mutual support in the writing process. Writers take turns critiquing and receiving recommendations from the other group members. Each group seeks to find a time and place convenient for all members.
We welcome writers of all levels and in all genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry and other.
The Canadian Authors Association (CAA) Vancouver Branch has formed four regional writers’ circles to accommodate members who are interested in participating. Circles are located in Burnaby, The North Shore, Vancouver and Surrey, which is in the formation stage.
Other groups can be formed as the needs arise. For information about a writers’ circle near you, email Anne Helps. Please note: Persons wishing to be part of the CAA Vancouver Branch writers’ circles may attend three times to see if the group is right for them. Then, they are required to become members of the CAA if they continue to participate.
Signs of a Good Writing Circle:
The person critiquing always:
- Begins with a positive comment
- Keeps specific and objective, seeing his or her comments as suggestions only
- Avoids getting personal about the writing of another and does not make judgments on whether the manuscript is good or bad
- Focuses on what is on the written pages received, and not on what is not there
- Does not repeat what other group members have already said. She or he tries to go beyond the obvious and dig deeper
- Treats the work of others with respect and courtesy
The person receiving critiques:
- Stays out of the discussion unless asked a direct question
- Avoids taking comments personally
- Avoids reacting and takes time to think the remarks over
Each member respects the time of others waiting for their turns to receive a critique.
Ways Writers Say Their Groups Have Helped Them:
- Sharing my work with others gives me a deadline. That means I keep writing, whereas sometimes I tend to let things slide.
- Listening to the group members sharing their feedback about my work helps me get “outside of my own head” and see my work more objectively. Group members represent the reader I am trying to reach. They help me see where I need to clarify, or even adjust my plot.
- Belonging to a writers’ circle means I have a group of people who share my goals and interests. It is wonderful to be able to discuss writing wholeheartedly with someone who understands.
- Networking. When I am part of a group, I get to know other writers. I feel more comfortable in my writers’ organization because I know more of the people. It makes a difference to arrive at a CAA meeting and recognize the faces of others.
- Author’s autonomy. I have the chance to listen to helpful comments and suggestions, but I am free to use them or not, as my inner artist guides me.