Writing Groups

Good afternoon. It is I Gigi the parti poodle once again. I am delighted to say I had the opportunity this week to study poodles like myself climbing chain link fences. It’s a most auspicious experience. The poodle in these videos is often depicted with other dogs in a pen of some sort. But only the brave ingenious poodle attempts to escape…unless of course you happen to be a greyhound and can leap over the fence all together. But I had to marvel at the ingenuity of the fellow members of my breed. It is a sport I plan on taking up soon. It will be great fun making my novelist chase me. I adore watching her panic. Without further ado, here is my novelist.   

Writer’s groups are awful. I’ve been in a few and I never liked them. Maybe it’s because I’m a thinking writer and not a feeling one or rather an Analyst as opposed to a Diplomat. Those who are extroverted writers like ENFJ and ENFP types tend to write screenplays. Those who are introverted like INFJ and INFP types tend to write novels and poetry. I am none of these types and yet here I am writing novels and have written screenplays as well.

That said intuitive thinking Analysts are wired to want to write a book. Observe this article. The desire to write a book is equally strong between intuitive feelers and intuitive thinkers and higher than both sensory judgement personality types (Sentinels) and sensory perceptives (Explorers) by 24%. The combined number of intuitive feelers and intuitive thinkers in the world at large is only 20% with an even distribution of each group taking up 10% of the world’s population. The likely reasoning for an intuitive writer to pen a book is to get ideas and points across as opposed to romanticizing writing. Novelists who are Intuitive Thinkers include Ayn Rand, Jane Austin, C.S. Lewis, Sylvia Plath, Emily Bronte, Lewis Carroll, Isaac Asimov, Franz Kafka, Harper Lee, Robert A. Heinlein, John le Carre, Dorothy L. Sayers and Screenwriters like James Camron, Stanley Kubrick, Dan Aykroyd, Tina Fey, David Cronenberg, Christopher Nolan, Federico Fellini, Larry David, Diablo Cody, Terry Gilliam and Steve Martin.   

So, by that rational, intuitive thinkers can and do write fiction. When we go to write a story, we usually have a plan or a theory or even a theorem we want to put into action. We are not there to figure out how we fit into the world or necessarily express ourselves. We are there to test our experiment and see if it works.

The challenging part of working in a writing group is a feeling writer is going to approach a story differently than a thinking writer. Feeling writers want to transform people. Thinking writers want to transform the world. As Sherlock, a thinking character says, “Will caring about them help save them?” to which Watson replies “Nope.” to which Sherlock says, “Then I’ll continue not to make that mistake.” I find the groups that are easiest to be part of are those who do not judge each other’s work. These are often timed writing groups where everyone writes together for a set amount of time be it thirty minutes or forty-five minutes or however long the group chooses. What these types of groups help you do as a writer is continually create. Or at least they should. If you are in a writing group and you must create for a half an hour or better, it allows you to do one of two things: continue moving forwards in the story you are writing or focus on creating a different story you have in your pipeline. For instance, if I am spending most of my writing time rewriting a story, I may choose the time in the group to play with a different way to write a scene. Or if I am just putting a final polish on a story I might use the time in the group to start writing scenes for the next story I intend to write and not focus on the story I am presently dedicating most of my writing time on.

I should probably mention at this point that writing groups can be done with Zoom or Hangouts Meet, or Microsoft Teams or Zoho Meeting and a few others. Now is probably not a great time for writers to be meeting in person.

But even with doing timed writings I find working in these groups challenging. Probably because I am an introvert and I find the most difficult part is the social interaction. If you have never been in a timed writing group usually everyone reads aloud what they wrote at the end of the thirty or forty-five minutes. That is not so bad though I must admit I read the work I’ve done better to individuals outside the group. But usually people want to talk to each other afterwards or before the actual work times and that’s the part I do not care for. It is inevitable but horrific. I think it is the NFs and the extroverted NTs who like this part. I would rather just get back to my writing.

My Books

You can check out my books Chicane and the first two books in my Musicology book series Musicology: Volume One, Baby! and Musicology: Volume Two, Kid! on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback editions. You can also check out Musicology’s web site at www.musicologyrocks.com and vote for who you think will will Musicology!!

STREAM OF THE WEEK: RUSHMORE (1998)-Prime

One of favorite Anderson Movies is easily Rushmore and it is now streaming on Amazon Prime. It’s the story of a brilliant but overly ambitious youth named Max Fischer (brilliantly played by Jason Schwartzman). Max has either started or is involved in every extracurricular activity at Rushmore, a private academy for boys. Max’s mother died and his father is a barber. This is, of course, his downfall. A new young teacher named Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams) starts teaching the younger students there and Max falls for her because he misses his mom. He enlists one of his new friends, a wealthy businessman named Herbert Blume (Bill Murray) to help build an aquarium for her, but Herbert unexpectedly takes a liking to Rosemary as well. A must-see movie.

SMART MOVIES FOR SMART KIDS: CLIFFORD’S REALLY BIG MOVIE (2004)-Prime

This is a cute movie for younger kids that is pleasant to watch. Clifford the Big Red Dog (John Ritter) realizes he costs too much for Emily Elizabeth (Grey Griffin) and decides to run away. He is followed by his pals Cleo (Cree Summer) and T-Bone (Kel Mitchell). On his journey he catches the eye of Larry (Judge Reinhold) a likeable fellow who runs a small traveling circus made up of stray animals. Larry is more than delighted to bring Clifford, Cleo and T-Bone on board. Larry’s circus becomes a great success until a spoiled little girl named Maddison plots to take Clifford and keep him for herself.

SCREENWRITINGU FREE CLASS FRIDAY: IS YOUR SCREENPLAY MISSING THIS?

You can sign up for the class here. Classes are at Noon on Fridays PST.

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