My previous books have been dedicated to individuals - my wife and son; my parents - but Transported is dedicated to the members of three writers' groups: the Writers’ Intensive Care Group (WICG) (Dunedin), the Phoenix Writers’ SIG (Wellington), and the Writing Crew (Wellington).
The reason for this dedication is that many of the stories in Transported received their first public airing in front of one of these groups, and that they have, at different times and in their different ways, provided me with a great deal of support as a writer - plus, I've made some really good friends in them .
WICG was the first writing group I joined, and I'm still a corresponding member - at least, when I visit Dunedin at the time a meeting of the group is on, I take great pleasure in attending one of the meetings, as I did a few weeks ago. WICG has always consisted of artists and musicians as well as writers, and in fact, it is now largely an artists' group - including some artists whose names are not yet widely known, but which should be! What I valued most from WICG was the encouragement it gave me at a time when I had little confidence in my writing.
When I moved to Wellington, I joined the Writers' Special Interest Group of the Phoenix Science Fiction Society - a group that has produced a number of writers who have gone on to significant success. I found that the Writers' SIG gave more detailed critiques than had WICG, but less encouragement - and, at that time, I had a thinner skin, so I found the critiques harder to take than I do now (he says, wondering if he is deluding himself ...)
I've already blogged about the Writing Crew, the group that came out of the 2003 Writing the Landscape course at Victoria (CREW 256, hence the name). We're not meeting regularly at the moment, as members disperse to various parts of the globe, but I hope we will again - and I keep in touch with many of the members in the meantime.
I was (am?) a little odd, because, for a long time, I found it easier to send my work off to editors I didn't know than show it to fellow writers. But, if you are a writer, then I encourage you to find a group of other writers who are prepared to met regularly, be honest - but not destructive - about each others' work within a framework of support and encouragement, and want to write and keep writing (or paint and keep painting!) and get better at it. If you already belong to such a group, formal or informal, you are in luck.
- There's an interesting discussion about writers' groups on Rachael King's blog.