I Went to a Writing Group Today - January 9th, 2019

I've been to a few writing groups and haven't liked them. This one was pretty fun though.


Some writers love writing groups, others hate them. The fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson loves them. The horror writer Stephen King hates them.

From my experience I would say there are two types of writing groups. There is the group where people are working on certain projects. They bring pieces in and try to improve them with the feedback from the group. This is the type of writing group Brandon Sanderson has. I haven't seen this well done yet.

The other group is like the one I went to today in Muskegon, Michigan. It's for fun. It was just an hour long. There were 12 of us. The whole thing was a simple little exercise.

On a slip of paper, that I forgot to bring home, was written what we were to do. The exercise was to write something from someone else's perspective. That was the basic idea at least.

Two people wrote from the perspective of a dog. One person wrote from the perspective of a squirrel, and it was a good twist at the end. One woman wrote from the perspective of a man that had been killed. Another wrote from the perspective of Aaron in Exodus, another from the perspective of a mother trying to explain current politics to her son. It was interesting.

The first thing that came to my mind was Abner Marsh. Abner Marsh is a character from "Fevre Dream" by George R. R. Martin. He is a very brusk and tough guy from around the year 1850 that runs a riverboat company on the Mississippi River. This is just an attempt to struggle at catching his voice.

- - - - - - -

"Whad'ya want?" snarled Abner Marsh. He'd stepped out of his cabin and was glowering at Smith.

"I jus' thought ya'd like ter know that ever'thing's lawded up sir," said Smith.

"Good," said Marsh, "then take 'er out. I wanna be in New Orleans by tamarrow." He stepped back into his cabin and closed the door.

The letter was staring up at him from his desk. It was half finished and he wondered if he should just throw it away.

- - - - - - -

Dear Susan,

Your father helped me build this company. He stayed with me after the boats were wrecked in the winter of '47. He will be missed.

When part of the crew had gotten sick Ron went down to help with the boilers. There was an accident and he was injured. We were able to bring a doctor on, but your father passed two days later.

- - - - - - -

That's where Abner Marsh had stopped over an hour ago. There should be more to say, but he didn't know what it was.

- - - - - - -

It was an interesting exercise. We wrote for about 20 minutes. Yes, it took me 20 minutes to write that. Then we went around and read what we had written. It was interesting to hear the different directions people had gone. There was a little feedback given, but almost none. It's not really that type of group. It's more of a shared experience. I liked it.

It was weird to try to write in that voice for me. I especially struggled with how Marsh would write. Is he articulate? It's been a couple of years since I've read that book, but I'm thinking he would probably be semi-literate. I wasn't trying to make something from Martin's book anyway, just play with the voice as an exercise.

When I started to read it I struggled with the accent. I had to stop on the second sentence, say that I couldn't do the accent, and re-read it.

I must say, it was a fun and interesting hour.

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You can find more of what I'm doing at http://www.JeffreyAlexanderMartin.com

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