Just finished another exquisite blog post by Rachel R. Roberts, author, playwright, educator, and essayist. Poignacy and nostalgia embue every sentence. There is an elegance to her writing stemming from her personality, as lilting and gentle as her voice. I hear her as I read, the syrup-smooth glide of her southern cadence. The prose is so lyric and grammar always perfect. I can see her blushing as she reads this, her head slightly turned away with modesty that is natural and unaffected. I’ve always admired that in certain women, specifically those who are sincere with that response. I have none of that and often feel like a clod when in the company of Rachel, the epitome of the gracious, southern lady. Her writing has the same even grace, while layered with so much left unwritten and yet clearly stated. I feel so lucky to hear her comments when she can attend our writing group. She never fails to find a bit of encouragement, is perceptive and kind when it comes to critiquing. Which brings me to the writing group itself, Summit City Scribes, or as we call ourselves, just plain ole Scribes.
The group ranges from ten to twenty members, fluctuating with each bi-monthly meeting. The rules are simple—fifteen minutes to read, the reader is not allowed to comment until after all the members make their remarks, which goes around the table one by one, starting with something complimentary then the opinion, suggestions, or critique.
Members are an eclectic bunch covering a wide variety of genres in fiction and non. It’s heartening for this reader to hear that the work just read held the attention of those having no interest in the genre but that it did hold their interest. If it’s a romance, that’s a big deal to hear from men who write about hiking, or a jounalist, a former cop, or the guy writing a gritty murder mystery. I remember the terror the first time I read to the group almost twenty years ago. Nowadays, I can’t wait to hear what they have to say and often use everything they suggest.
There are so many wonderful writers in this group, and since joining, I’ve found more than encouragement and instruction. The women are clever, bold and goal-oriented. The men are clear-sighted and true gentlemen, which is a lot to be said in this day and age. When my husband passed, Scribes were there, surrounding me like a bastion, determined to hold me up and see me through. They did and have through so many disappointments and set backs, writing and personal. I also scored with another of my favorite writers, my critique partner, Judy Post aka Judi Lynn. She is the fearless leader for Scribes and takes the role seriously, encouraging and touting us like a fierce mother hen. Uh, no. More like a valkyrie. Even though I dread the work involved in rewrites, I get a shiver of excitement when getting back pages from Judy drenched in red ink. She loves to write mystery, so she finds all the plot defects.
I’m including blog sites to illustrate how we differ as writers. I’ve always loved differences, how much there is to glean from another POV. I’ve learned so much from Scribes, wouldn’t have any of the craft or successes without them. Check out their blogs, you’ll see what I mean about how we differ, and because of that, learn, and more importantly, apply.
Rachel S. Roberts
Judith Post/Judi Lynn
I’ve added a former Scribes member, Les Edgerton. (Won’t list his credentials because it goes on for miles.) He has a terrific blog and an amazing new book out.
So much to learn, so little time.
M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML