Interview with author Sonia Doherty
I have always loved stories and storytelling because they take you on adventures you would not normally go on. You can travel around the world and into lives you didn’t know existed and learn many things along the way. I was watching TV the other day and right from the beginning I loved the characters, it wasn’t the way they looked, it was the dialogue they were sharing. I immediately appreciated great writers, because they make the difference between enjoyment and endurance.
What writing group/s do you belong to?
Wordsmiths of Melton
What is the structure of this writing group? We have a Coordinator and we all participate in critiquing each other’s work.
Is this writing group associated with a state or national organisation? No
Does this group have affiliations with peak writing associated bodies? No
How many members does this writing group have? 8-10
Does the writing group have a clearly defined goal in writing?
Yes, to assist in the development of any with a desire to write
Are there any critiquing guidelines to follow?
Yes, there are guidelines that teach us about not just looking at the writing as to how we would write it, but to see what journey the author is taking us on and how to encourage them to develop their skills
Are there any guidelines for people whose work is being critiqued to follow?
Yes, if it is really close to your heart perhaps don’t submit it as everyone will see things differently. If you want the group to share their opinions don’t take them personally as it is about how each one sees the written work, not about the author. Listen to what is being said and ask questions you have, but ultimately it is your work so you make the final decisions
Does the group have set guidelines for behaviour, and a process to remove members who are disruptive to the smooth running of the group?
Probably, but I have never as yet seen them in practice because there has been no need.
Does everybody contribute to each meeting, or do you only hear from the same few people?
Everyone gets to have their say, we all critique each other’s work and we also can comment or answer questions that have been raised during the critiquing.
How long have you been a member of this writing group? About 18months
What is your role within this group? I write, listen and critique and comment
What are the benefits to you from attending a writing group?
Listening to others opinions and knowledge helps me learn to develop my writing. I get a wider perspective than just mine. I am building friendships. The expertise help from the workshops have been invaluable. Recommend competitions and web sites that are helpful to making me a better writer.
Why be in a writing group? Because you get the bigger picture focus, and learn heaps on the way
What do you look for in a writing group? Encouragement and skills development
Does your writing group give peer critique or general comment? We give both
What is the focus of your writing group – writing or poetry? Both
Can the two be successfully combined in terms of critiquing?
Yes, because I critique the written word no matter what form, but do refer to more skilled poets for structure advice. By critiquing and reading poetry it can also encourage others who have never written poetry before to give it a try in a safe environment to see if they have those skills.
Is there anything you would like from your writing group that is missing at the moment?
Not that I can think of
Have you belonged to any other writing groups? No
Have you had a negative experience in a writing group?
The biggest negative experience has been when the discussion gets a little warm, but it has never been too warm it doesn’t cool down again. With any group of people, there will be differences at times, but the secret is, put it aside and focus on the goal and learn from each other.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking of joining a writing group?
Find one and join, keep looking until you find the right fit and then settle in and write and share and enjoy
Is there anything you would like to add?
Think about what it is you want to do in life – if it is writing go wherever you can to get support and help. Learn from others and always encourage one another. Critiquing is good as it helps us grow, but encouragement keeps us growing.
Thank you for participating Sonia