Brad Parks writes from Brooklyn, NY: pharmaceutical copywriting by day, fantasy and science fiction the rest of the time. Out of desperation, he founded the now fabulously successful critique group Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers (we’re on the list) through Meetup.com. Brad blogs at bradzooks.com.
Finding A Speculative Fiction Writing Group
The value of having a group of your peers to critique your work cannot be overstated. But finding a group that meets your particular needs can be daunting. I know. My own search led me to create the group that works for me.
Your group may already be out there, so I’ve assembled this quick guide to finding it or starting it yourself.
Websites for writing groups
Meetup.com is a fantastic place to start your search for a writing group to help you hone your speculative fiction writing skills. Below is just a selection of successful groups, which for his purpose I’ve defined as more than 100 members and/or meeting on a regular basis.
Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers (BSFW) (also on Facebook and at bsfwriters.com)
NYC Shared World Sci-Fi Fantasy Meetup Group
North Seattle SciFi and Fantasy Writers
Milwaukee Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop
The Lawrenceville Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Group
Orlando Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers
Obviously, Meetup is a great place to look for an active group in your area, or if none exists, do what I did and create your own. Feel free to reach out to the organizers of BSFW for advice on starting and running a critique group like ours.
Other writing groups exist outside Meetup, and can be found with a simple online search, for example:
The Toronto Speculative Fiction Writers Group – Toronto, Canada (http://tosfwriters.
Writers of the Weird and the Science Fiction Association of Bergen County – NJ (https://sites.google.com/
Write or Die – Pittsburgh, PA (word.pghfree.net)
A list of lists
The Science Fiction Writers of America has a few lists of their own, which haven’t been updated in a while, though, like many of their other resources, are still worth checking out:
Online writing workshops
For those who either can’t find a good group nearby or who live in remote areas where creating a group of your own isn’t practical, consider one of these excellent online writing workshops (thanks to Angie Smibert (www.angiesmibert.com/blog/?p=
Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (http://sff.
Other Worlds Writers’ Workshop (www.otherworlds.net)
Hatrack River (www.hatrack.com/writers)
These are generally not open to new members, as all the members are professional writers. But they frequently keep blogs dripping with useful advice from writers who’ve been there, and it’s a great place to keep up with your favorite writers.
Wyrdsmiths (www.wyrdsmiths.com) (blog at: www.wyrdsmiths.blogspot.com)
This Minneapolis-St. Paul area group features such outstanding authors as Lyda Morehouse, Kelly McCollough and Naomi Kritzer, and their blog is a balanced blend of news and advice.
Altered Fluid (www.alteredfluid.com)
A group composed of such luminaries as Saladin Ahmed, N. K. Jemisin, Alaya Dawn Johnson and Rajan Khanna.
A dual-purpose workshopping and discussion group for writers who have met their definition of professional status.
As you can see, your next writing group may be just an online search away, or may even be one of the ones listed above. If you have a group to add to the list, please do so in the comments of this post.