Group Guidelines: How we do what we do.
This document sets out the basic notions and practices by which Write Free or Die operates as a writers’ group. It’s not “The Rules” but as near as we get to having any.
The group is open to anyone. To become an active member, you must
• Use the “Join” button on the Meetup site (using something like a real name)
• Attend one meeting in person and
• Give your email address to the group organizer.
You will be added to the submissions mailing list, where you can submit your work for review and receive submissions of other active members.
Privacy and Ownership
All authors remain the sole owners of their work. Group members who receive the work for review agree:
• to view the work only for the purpose of providing feedback to the author,
• not share the work with anyone outside the group,
• to not keep or reuse the work in any way, and
• to protect the identity of members publishing under a pseudonym.
Other online presences
The group owns and maintains a blog at Write Free or Die. This blog is open to the public for reading & commenting. Membership in Write Free or Die is required to post or edit content. Contact the Organizer or Co-Organizer for more information about the blog.
Meeting location, time, and frequency
Meetings are scheduled on Wednesdays, from 7:00 to 9:00 pm at the Marion Gerrish Community Center, 39 West Broadway (NH102) in Derry, New Hampshire.
[Be sure to check the Room Assignment board in the vestibule of the MGCC, as the room assignment can vary from week to week.]
WFoD uses our meetings for different purposes, according to the calendar. The “heart and soul” of the group are the Review and Critique meetings held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. Third and Fifth Wednesday topics are by suggestion/request of members, and the whim/fancy of the Host if there aren’t any requests or suggestions.
• Flash Fiction Workshops are held on the First Wednesday of each month.
• Review/Critique meetings are held the 2nd and 4th Wednesday.
• Third Wednesday Meetups are a “Free-For-All” covering topics to do with writing and literature or culture in general, scheduled ad hoc as the Meetup Host sees fit.
• In months containing a Fifth Wednesday, we may meet on it if there’s interest in a particular topic.
• Active members are expected to attend most meetings. (Attending Flash meetings only is acceptable).
• Active members are expected to review all submissions and submit their own work regularly.
Submittal for Review/Critique format
• Copy must be submitted in PDF format. Most word processing programs can save in or export to PDF format, or you can seek help from many other members.
• Copy should be provided in a minimum of 10 point (12 is better, we have a number of presbyopes), standard text font such as Times New Roman.
• Copy should be double-spaced (must have minimum linespacing of 1.5)
• Copy must have author’s name, title, and page number on each page (header or footer)
Submissions for review should be submitted to the submissions email list as PDF attachments.
Due to privacy and ownership considerations, members should not keep files of other member’s writing on their computers. Reviewers may mark up up electronic copies of submittals or print and mark up hard copies and return to the author at or immediately after the feedback meeting.
• Since members will be reviewing multiple works per meeting, we (try to) limit submissions to not more than 5000 words, with some flexibility available to accommodate the logical needs of a particular piece. (NB: 5000 words converts roughly to 20 pages in the format specified above.)
• There’s no minimum, submit whatever you’d like the group to see and comment on.
• This group reviews prose only. Fiction and nonfiction are welcome (memoir, history, autobiography, personal essay). We are not the place or the group for your poetry.
There are no restrictions on content type, diction, or other descriptors. Writers should, of course, be aware that content that pushes boundaries excessively in any direction may be subject to more than editorial critique.
• There’s no expectation in terms of “State of the text” – first-draft through “Agent-ready” as long as it’s actually composed prose (not outlines and grocery bag/envelope notes).
Feedback Ordering and Group Size
Submissions are generally reviewed in the order in which they were submitted, at the discretion of the Organizer, with the advice and consent of the membership in attendance. Excess work will be queued to subsequent meetings, also at the discretion of the Organizer or other Host of a particular meeting.
• Initial responders are determined by volunteer (i.e. “Who wants to go first?”)
• Responders follow a “round-the-table” format, “poker-style” i.e. to the initial responder’s left.
• Time constraints dictate that we eschew line-by-line copy edit comments (typos, errant punctuation, format issues) in the meeting. They’re very welcome in the markup.
• We avoid debate and argument while responders are delivering their feedback.
• Authors do not “defend” their work.
• Responders limit their comments to the work under review.
• Responders avoid repeating comments that have already been delivered, except to reinforce (or dispute) them, as in “I dis/agree with what Henry/everybody said.”
• Authors may question responders, or respond themselves if they feel the need, after all responders have spoken. If time permits, a brief free-for-all discussion may wrap up the feedback for a given item.
Version 7, 22 November 2019