Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Dec 3 Meeting Report

Last night 31 people gathered to hear and critique 5 writers. We had a lively discussion and I felt like I learned a lot to apply to my own writing, even though I wasn't being read or critiqued.


The Las Vegas Writer's Conference website is updated.
Our holiday party on December 17th is two weeks away.


Congratulations to Jo Wilkins on an outstanding compliment on her books. An enthusiastic reader bought two copies and said he thought the Tyranny series was better than Firefly, a popular science fiction series with a cult following.

A big congratulations to Jay Yarbrough on signing a book contract with local publisher Ink and Quill this week!


Next Monday, December 10th, is our last weekly meeting for 2012. Writer's Pen and Grill will be meeting the following Wednesday (12/12/12). Next year, our first weekly meeting on January 7th will be held at the Albertson's grocery store, located at the corner of Horizon and College in Henderson.


"You've described him as a pale Italian who smells like rotten fruit and dresses like a pirate. I don't really know who he is from that description."


AVOID LISTS—avoid them at all costs in fiction. 
If you must describe a person or thing, make that description a part of the story. Weave it into your prose; never stop your story to deliver information because it becomes author intrusion. To describe anything it must be part of the flow, continuing the story without removing the reader from it, no matter how short the list.

OUR CRITIQUING GUIDELINES and a MESSAGE from president Jo Wilkins:

These critiquing guidelines were drafted in 2000, shortly after the HWG was formed. They have helped us encourage the newer members to build their abilities and established writers hone their talent. By critiquing the writing and not the author with constructive critiques and respecting each others’ comments (even when we don’t agree with them) we have built the HWG into a group that can offer encouragement and advice to many aspiring authors.

So, with all the different philosophies out there on how to write, edit and critique, let’s keep allowing our fellow members to express themselves without fear of being shot down. Each member reading for a critique has the right to accept or ignore the critiques given, write in the style they feel best suits their voice, and express their story in their own way. In giving critiques, we can only advise each other in the ways we have been taught.

-Jo Wilkins

Critiquing Guidelines

The aim of the Henderson Writers’ Group is to help serious writers become published authors. Please keep these general guidelines in mind while reading or critiquing at our writers group meetings.


Authors should request what type of critique they want prior to reading. If you want the listeners to focus on one aspect of your story be it, plot, pace, voice or dialog, the critique will have more value if the listeners can focus while you are reading.

Authors should warn listeners about any possibly offensive content prior to beginning. Don’t be offended if someone does not want to listen to explicit sexual content or language.

As the author, please do not be argumentative when a critiquer gives an opinion. If they have misunderstood a point it is OKAY to tell them what you meant. But, arguing with them about their opinion is counter-productive. Especially, when you consider that you asked for that opinion by presenting your work.


Stories are written by people, and people have feelings. That doesn’t mean you should be complimentary when a story clearly needs work. The worst thing you can do in a critique is to tell someone how great their story is when, in fact, it isn’t. Your job is to use fresh eyes to spot problems the author can’t see because they are too close to the story — CRITIQUE THE STORY AND NOT THE AUTHOR

There are no rules for critiquing. (Other than no blood-on-the-floor-critiques) A critique is an opinion about a story — hopefully an educated opinion, but an opinion nevertheless — and every one has them.

Keep your critique focused on the work at hand. Comparing the work being critiqued to your own is not the best way to make your point. Remember you are not writing this story.

Try to make your comments clear, specific and as understandable as possible, both for the author’s sake, and for the other listeners as well.

Try to keep in mind the author’s skill level, taste, and prior experience you’ve had with their work (if any) while you critique. Our goal is to help all our members improve their writing and get published. Writing is a skill which is learned and which is improved with continual work and effort. No matter what point at which a writer starts, if he or she continues to work diligently, he or she will one day be writing publishable material.


  1. I always enjoy refreshing my memory with regard to the critiqing rules for both authors and critics...they aren't always pleasant to express or hear but mine in particular are ained to aid a writer in his work.

    Donald Riggio

  2. I subscribe to the $#!^sandwich method. Say something good, deliver the bad news, end with a compliment.


Upcoming Events & Places for Writers & Readers

At the Henderson Writers Group we support education and events around the Las Vegas Valley

Las Vegas Writers Conference

April 18-20, 2013

Annual Student Writing Contest

The Henderson Writers Group is serious about educating writers. We believe that our youth, specifically students, are the place to start. To further these efforts we have established this writing contest to award scholarships to the best of these budding authors.
See Website for details & submission guidelines.

Vegas Valley Book Festival


Clark County Nevada Libraries