Writers Anon are a group of writers who come together to exchange feedback on work they hope to publish. This is done in an informal and lively manner, and this code of conduct is here to help people present their work and to give and receive feedback in a sensitive and helpful way.
What writing can I bring?
- We don’t focus on specific genres and welcome all kinds of creative fiction. However, while there are no rules regarding the type, style or content of reading samples, the range of skills and experience of group members means we can’t always offer appropriate critique on writing such as life writing, travel, poetry, erotica, blogs and so on (e.g., non-general fiction). If you are unsure, please ask in advance if the group can offer relevant feedback.
- Reading samples tend to be around 1,000 to 1,500 words in length, to allow time for each group member to read out their piece and receive feedback during the meeting.
- There is a group shared drive for people to upload their writing to before a meeting. This gives members who can’t attend the chance to read and offer feedback of your work . It also allows for pieces which are too long for a meeting to be read and critiqued via email, or during the following meeting.
Giving and Receiving Feedback
There’s a blog post on our website about giving and receiving feedback. It gives helpful pointers should you be new to critiquing others’ work and having your own critiqued. You can find the post here: https://writersanontaunton.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/giving-and-taking-feedback-on-writing/
What should I not do?
We have to feel comfortable sharing our writing, so it’s important to be able to trust each other. This means following a few guidelines that promote mutual respect for ourselves and our writing. The following are a few points to bear in mind before and during a meeting.
- Avoid distracting others
While people are reading, please avoid interrupting or otherwise distracting people. If you need another drink, for instance, please wait until the reader has finished.
- Keep it within the group
Anything read out during a meeting or posted on our shared drive must be kept within the group. An author’s writing is their intellectual property and should not be shared outside the group without their explicit permission.
- Sexual, challenging or adult-orientated content
If your writing contains certain themes or content that may offend or distress others, you should let people know before reading it to the group. (e.g. rape, extreme violence, self-harm/eating disorders/suicide, abortion/miscarriage, mental illness, graphic adult content).
We don’t generally stop people from talking about these subjects, but bear in mind that different people have very different ideas of what is challenging material. A trigger warning may be necessary before something potentially upsetting is read out, to allow people to remove themselves from the room if they don’t want to hear it. If you’re unsure, you can submit your writing sample to the group organiser ahead of time.
If your piece includes references to violence or hatred on the basis of race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age or sexual orientation, use caution before reading it out. If in doubt consult with the group organiser before reading it out. Such material may need to have a trigger warning before the group hears it.
- No Gratuitous Self-Promotion
Writers Anon is not a platform for promoting your work. Its aim is to critique and develop our work in progress and to hone our writing skills for the future. You’re welcome to announce your latest publication, of course, but this is not the purpose of the group.
- Be respectful
- Please RSVP (The Snug has limited space)
- Ask questions
- Listen after speaking
- Give positive feedback first
- Consider genre.
If you feel that someone has breached the code of conduct, and don’t feel you can bring the matter to their attention directly, you can consult with the group organiser. If the breach is serious enough, the person in question will be given a warning by e-mail. They will have a right of response. If this behaviour was serious enough to warrant it, or the warning is not heeded, then they will be asked not to attend future meetings.
- Extreme violence
- Length or detailed descriptions of torture, wounds or surgery.
- Sexual assault of any kind.
- Suicide and self-harm.
- Individuals with suicidal ideation or intent, individuals self-harming through active or non-active processes e.g. Bulimia, cutting or self-neglect.
- Sexual activity, implied or otherwise, involving children or pre-adults.
- Mental Illness.
- The experience of psychosis or mental illness, such as multiple personality disorder, depression or anxiety disorder.