A Northeast Kansas Writers’ Exchange

Bryon Cannon’s catsignal blog inspired me to ask other imaginative writers in our area to start blogs of their own and join us in a “Northeast Kansas Writers’ Exchange.” We share creative writing challenges and mutual criticism.

This group is simple to join: Start a blog and post your work. Subscribe to other writers’ blogs too. Read their work as you have time, comment on it as you feel moved, and welcome their comments on yours.

It’s even simpler to quit. If you don’t enjoy it, just stop participating.

Subscribe to each other’s blogs via email, RSS, or other method. Make such tools available on your own site. (It’s easy and free to set up a WordPress blog like this. Instructions here.)

We could challenge each other from time to time: “Write a Bible-style parable with an O. Henry ending,” or “Write a descriptive poem with no modifiers, at least ten lines long.” Whoever accepts the challenge can post on their own blog.

The idea is to write regularly, share results, and offer mutual criticism. I suggest a few reasonable guidelines:

  1. Proofread before you post.
  2. Read others’ work and comment when you can.
  3. Criticize the work of others as you would have others criticize yours.
  4. Thank those who help you develop your craft.

I really want criticism. “Took too long to get my interest” does not hurt my feelings. “I was led to expect something interesting and nothing happened” and “The protagonist is so irritating I stopped reading” are instructive and welcome comments. I need frank reader response — say how the work affected you. You don’t have to suggest how to fix it, but you can if you want to.

Other ideas?


About Greg Bryant

I teach writing and literature at Highland Community College in northeast Kansas.
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5 Responses to A Northeast Kansas Writers’ Exchange

  1. bryon says:

    I’m in. And I’m pleased to have been the tiny spark that may get a great fire going that will drive a wonderful creative engine.

    And, having milked that metaphor dry…

  2. Greg Bryant says:

    Cool! I look forward to your comments, Bryon, whether you respond as the professional editor you are, or as the avid reader you are. This will be good prep for the creative writing course I’m teaching in the fall.

  3. Chris Bartak says:

    I’m also in. While I technically don’t live in NE KS, I can drive across the state line to post, so as to be in full compliance.

    This is cool. I look forward to seeing what others are doing, and hope to be inspired to dust off my writing brain and see if it still works.

    I’m really excited to get feedback from people whose writing abilities I admire.

  4. Greg Bryant says:

    Chris, when you get a blog started, send me the URL and I’ll put it — and Bryon’s — in my right-hand column, if it’s okay.

    By the way, the “NEK” is loosely defined. I considered dumping it, but I thought maybe we’d want to keep it to people we associate with otherwise. I guess I’ve seen so much rancor on the web I just don’t want to invite anonymous strangers to flame me. My friends can flame me all they want.

  5. Chris Bartak says:

    Oh, I was only kidding about driving across the state line to post. I assumed I was welcome, having been invited.

    It was *like* a joke. (if you’re not Greg you might not get this joke…I apologize)

    I love the idea, and appreciate the invitation. I’m really excited about this, and am interested to post stuff.
    I love it, and am looking forward to reading what everyone’s doing.

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