Websites are still down. Sigh.
So, I mentioned earlier that I’ve taken over the storycraft meetings of my local speculative fiction writing group. I really enjoy these meetings, but I sometimes find it hard to pick appropriate topics to discuss.
This comes down to a couple of different things:
1) I don’t necessarily always know the level of the writers who are attending the meetings. Some members have just started writing; others are pro-writers, members of SFWA, traditionally published, the whole shebang. Some people are working on their first first drafts; others are trying to figure out how to submit to markets for the first time. I like to pick topics that will be beneficial for everyone.
2) Sometimes it feels like we’ve already talked about a lot of things–I’ve been in the group for two years, others have been around longer. How many times can we talk about plot or characters or coming up with titles?
3) I don’t know how interested people are in non-writing aspects of being a writer. Do people follow trends in our genre(s)? Do they care about discussing news about awards or controversies? Do they want to look at published books and dissect them? How open are they to doing a non-traditional meeting, where instead of discussing a writing topic, we do an exercise or read something else?
Not straight writing exercises, though. I hate those.
So, Squiders, what can be considered storycraft for meeting purposes? Do I need to stick with straight writing topics–editing, worldbuilding, aspects like pacing and conflict–mixed in with genre topics–tropes and other defining aspects? Or can I mix in other things like current events, marketing, looks at favorite books and why? Anyone have any advice for making sure a topic is useful for everyone, regardless of skill level?