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Writing fiction can be a lonely business. It’s hard to find the right people who will give you the feedback you need. Proper feedback is essential. That’s why it was so important I find a group like Brooklyn Speculative Fiction Writers.

 

The goal of BSFW is to help raise each other’s writing to a publishable level. At meetings we use the Clarion method to critique. Generally speaking, the Clarion method is where everyone, sitting in a circle, beginning with the person sitting to the right of the author, takes three minutes to critique the story. While that person is speaking the author is allowed to take notes but not to speak. Once everyone has had a chance to critique the story, the floor is then open for discussion and the author is encouraged to ask questions.

    

It’s very important to be in the right frame of mind when being critiqued. In any other setting it’s very easy to become defensive and fight for the choices you made in a story and potentially miss some solid feedback. It’s why it’s so important in the Clarion method to remain silent while being critiqued. It gives you the chance to seriously consider the things being said. It also forces you to see your story from someone else’s point of view.

    

Speculative fiction is broad in the sense that the stories may vary in genre from hard science fiction to literary horror. Recently, I submitted a ghost story to be critiqued. The majority of the people at this particular workshop ended up leaning more towards the science fiction side of things than the horror side and while I was able to glean some useful feedback, the host of the night recognized I could use more. He put me in touch with another member of the group, someone better suited to critique my story. Since then I’ve received the feedback necessary to make my story what it needs to be.        

In a competitive industry it’s not easy finding peers eager to sit down and give you the criticism you need. BSFW has built a network of likeminded people committed to doing just that.

 

Learn more about BSFW @ bsfwriters.com

 

-Sean