Critiquing another writer's work involves more than just grammar and punctuation

On the second Tuesday of each month, the Kent Word Weavers group meets at the Logos Book Store (976 West Main, Kent). Members start arriving at 6:45 p.m. and the meeting lasts from 7:00 until around 8:30-9:00.

Word Weavers, Intl. is a Christian organization that provides the format for groups of writers to have face-to-face critique sessions in order to encourage, equip, and help each other grow in the craft of writing. They operate on what’s called the “sandwich” method of critiquing, which involves the following:

  • Members bring copies of their current works-in-progress, up to 1500 words.
  • Copies are given to each participant. If it’s a larger chapter, groups are split into groups of 4.
  • The person to the right of the one whose writing is being critiqued reads the manuscript aloud, while others in the group note comments and suggestions on their copies.
  • After the reader is done with the article or story, a few minutes are allowed so everyone can make notes.
  • The person to the left of the writer starts the round of critiques and the person whose work is being critiqued must remain silent as each person shares good things about the piece, suggestions, and finally another encouraging word (the “sandwich”).

While Word Weavers chapters are not limited to Christian members, they are led by biblical principles and as such, stories brought to be critiqued must not include “profanity, illicit sexual content, or content outside the generally accepted norm for Christian publishing” *see https://word-weavers.com

Word Weaver members often gain more than just critiques. They receive news about upcoming conferences, contests, publication opportunities and prayer. Yes, prayer. Depending on its size, each chapter has a president, vice president, hospitality coordinator, and chaplain, who begins each session with prayer. 

“Prayer is what buoys us.”

Learning to be silent during a critique helps writers as they meet with agents and editors at conferences. The poise with which they handle suggestions from industry experts speaks volumes about the professionalism of Word Weaver members.

Another plus for members is relationship-building.

Stephanie, one of the Kent members remarked, “Word Weavers has given me courage and confidence to follow my calling. I have learned so much. I never expected to make friendships!”

Bill, who is writing a book based on a series of sermons he preached added, “It’s the most encouraging night of the month [for me]. We speak the truth in love.”

A key benefit of being a Word Weaver is learning more about the art of writing. 

The president of the Kent chapter explains, “Every writer, even long-time best selling authors say they never stop learning. I won’t kid you, it’s hard work keeping up with all of the rules of grammar, MLA, and AP Style books. Every time we meet, a question comes up about the craft. But you know what? I love it. I think everyone in our group does, too.”

A surprising benefit of being a Word Weaver is less discussed, but of great importance for writers, courage.

“After years of being told my writing wasn’t good enough, my Word Weavers friends have given me the courage to share my words again.” Beth (member)

Debbie, another member, adds, “It has been a blessing getting together with other believers that want to point others to Christ, our hope, through our writing. The encouragement [I receive] helps me press on when I feel discouraged.

Writers of all levels are encouraged to join, and dues are just $45/year. Visitors may observe twice before asking to commit to membership. For more information, check out https://word-weavers.com/about

 

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