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Writing Group Online with Sandra Thibodeaux

“Be brief and say everything,” said the poet Charles Simic. That’s one skill poet and playwright Sandra Thibodeaux wants to impart to those joining her writing group, which will cover all genres.

Unlike other writing groups, this correspondence is all conducted online, and was launched by the NT Writers’ Centre in response to members’ requests for more in-depth critique of their work.

Each month from September to November, participants will submit a piece of writing of no more than 1500 words. Thibodeaux, who is the former head of the Writers’ Centre and whose most recent work The Age of Bones showed at Brown’s Mart earlier this year, will read participants’ work and give constructive feedback through email.

“What I’m interested in is probably character,” she says. “The characters drive the plot, so when I look at people’s writing, I want to see characters that interest me and I want to care about the characters and be concerned for their journeys. That’s going to hold the reader's interest.”

Like a traditional writing group, participants also have the choice of reading and commenting on each other’s writing, a process that is strongly encouraged.

“When you’re writing it all makes perfect sense. It’s all inside your head and you think it’s wonderful, but you don’t know how the reader is absorbing it. It’s really handy to have people read and give feedback,” says Thibodeaux.

“Probably the final touch I look at is a sense of poetry and a sense of rhythm in all writing. That’s usually what is the icing on the cake, if you think of someone like Tim Winton for instance, or Alexis Wright. It’s what gives the reader great pleasure.” 

See the event listing.

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