Novel-In-Progress—Austin is a critique group for fiction writers. It began meeting in the 1990s and has launched many published authors, both traditional and indie.
The group meets the second and fourth Sunday of each month (except as noted below) from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Austin Recreation Center (near 15th and Lamar, behind House Park football stadium). Writers who are interested may simply show up for a meeting to see what it is like, but we encourage you to check the Schedule page to make sure the meeting is being held.
Note: Around Easter the ARC is sometimes closed. In addition, we schedule our Holiday Party on the second Sunday in December and do not meet again until the second Sunday in January of the following year.
We generally have 12-15 members and one or two guests at any given meeting. At each roundtable we critique up to 25 pages of one member’s work, which is distributed two weeks in advance. Guests can also receive in advance an electronic copy of the work that will be discussed at the meeting. Note: The interval between meetings occasionally expands to three weeks in the transition from one month to the next.
HOW OUR MEETINGS WORK
1. The 30-second ice breaker. Attendees answer a question about writing, such as, “What is your current work in progress?” Or, “How do you personally incorporate critiques into your writing?” We encourage guests to participate, and it’s a great way to introduce yourself.
2. Business. This very brief agenda item allows time to assign slots for future critique sessions, and provides members with the opportunity to mention any significant events in their writing lives that have occurred since the last meeting.
3. Critique of the work. Each member will give a verbal critique of the current work under review. This is not a discussion, but an individual commentary, and the author does not answer questions or respond during this part of the meeting. The amount of exclusive time allotted to each member varies depending on the number of members in attendance. Based on current active participation, verbal critiques are limited to about five to six minutes.
4. We take a short break at 2:30 p.m. If anyone needs to sneak in late or leave early, this is their chance.
5. We reserve the last 15-30 minutes for an open “free-for-all” discussion in which the author can participate. This has proven to be a valuable opportunity for the member being reviewed to focus on specific elements of the verbal critiques.
6. Guests will not generally critique the work, but if they received the material in advance and would like to speak up, they will be given a turn. It’s entirely up to them.
HOW TO JOIN
Guests become members by joining our Yahoo Group to begin receiving meeting notices. For specifics, please consult the Join page in the menu bar below the header.
After attending five meetings and having submitted five pages of their work for informal critique (just as practice—we do not reject members based on their writing), guests become full members and are eligible to be scheduled for a 25-page roundtable critique.
With over two decades under our belt, we believe in the group and what it can do to help writers improve their craft. Our current members write in a variety of genres; thriller and mystery, sci-fi/fantasy, historical and literary, middle grade and young adult.
In 2012, several of the core members of NIP formed Austin Indie Writers, where we also assist in production and promotion of each other’s works as independent authors. While the two groups are separate, they generally consist of the same people. Note: AIW is currently inactive.
Is there a novel trapped within you? Or are you currently struggling inside that lonely cocoon surrounding your writing desk, trying to tame a beast of a book that refuses to cooperate? Maybe you have a complete manuscript but you’re just not sure if it’s ready for the bright lights of the outside world?
For any and all of these situations, any writers’ group can help. That said, Novel In Progress—Austin is not just any writers’ group. All it takes is a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to check us out.