February 2016: Sumter Chapter
Chapter President: Sandy Richardson
Being part of a chapter where members can come together and gain feedback is one of the unique features SCWA has to offer. SCWA currently has 19 active chapters throughout South Carolina, and each chapter does things a little differently.
The Sumter chapter has been together for three years, and currently they have nine active members, Sandy Richardson has been the chapter leader since their inception. Sumter members meet twice a month and vary their meetings between member homes. Their group has seven published writers, two who have joined their ranks in the last year. One is self-published, the others are published traditionally. Within their group are writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and plays; a variety of genres that keep their meetings interesting and varied.
Since most of the Sumter members are involved in lengthy works, they’ve elected to provide written critiques for each other. Their process is simple. Several days before their scheduled meeting, they email up to fifteen double-spaced pages to each member. Then, according to guidelines they’ve already established, each member brings written critiques addressing any major issues, and also specific questions and concerns the writer may have. The author who submitted is able to leave the meeting with at least one typed pages from each of the other members who reviewed the work.
Sandy says, this is invaluable information to take home, study, and sort through, and WELL worth the time and effort we put into it.
When I asked what would happen if everyone submitted fifteen pages, she responds, it is rare for all of us to submit for critique for any one meeting. At most we might have four or five submissions. And on average, I allow about two to three hours over the six days before a meeting for reading and typing up the critiques for any meeting.
Sandy says no one has ever been turned away from their group when prospective members approach her, but they are thoroughly briefed on the process and demands of the chapter before committing to join.
It works for us because that’s where we are in our writing and because that is what we need and want at this point. Our group motto is aligned to the idea that we are repaid many times over for the time and effort we put in to our critiques for others. I cannot tell you how much this group means to me and each of the other members. We are supportive, cooperative, dedicated, committed to each other and to learning more about the craft of writing. All in all, it is a group that will stick together.
For more information, please visit, www.sandyrichardson.wordpress.com
Does your chapter do things a little differently? If you’d like to ‘Spotlight’ your chapter, contact Irena Tervo at firstname.lastname@example.org.