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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
Overseas Critique 
20th-Sep-2007 03:39 pm
Let me see..

As you may have guessed, the previous post to Mount Oregano about the Madrid Writer's Critique Group is meant chiefly as a service to the group's members -- but you're welcome to click the links. You will find an enormous variety of creative projects.

Along with Madrid Poets, with which we have overlapping membership, we're the oldest English-language critique group in Madrid, Spain, around for more than eight years. I've been going for seven years.

Our secret to success is an almost complete lack of structure. Frankly, we would get a lot of benefits as writers if we all read the same story for a session and critiqued it together, and from time to time groups like that start in Madrid, founded by people who can't tolerate our approach, but they never last.

That's because many English-language writers tend to drift in and out of the country, and even if they're here for a while, sometimes their lives never fall into a routine. Some people come every week, some come every few months, some come very regularly but only stay a few months. So we have a very informal procedure. If you have something (if you don't, you can come anyway), you hand it out, and next time a critiquer comes back, you talk, usually one-on-one. We fill up the rest of the time talking about literature in general or about hints for survival in Spain; we're a point of encounter for expatriates, and we always need hints.

We can't afford to specialize, since we're the only show in town. Right now, instead of writing this, I should be reading a screenplay about Cold War spies, a chapter of a young adult romance novel, a fantasy short story, and a rambling sort of non-fiction work from someone who has just started writing and wants help mastering structure.

It's different to write in a minority language, and to be a foreigner. And so our group is not like most critique groups. But it works. If you're ever in town, do drop in.

Comments 
20th-Sep-2007 05:05 pm (UTC)
Hey, I'd join you if I could!
20th-Sep-2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Right now, instead of writing this, I should be reading a screenplay about Cold War spies, a chapter of a young adult romance novel, a fantasy short story, and a rambling sort of non-fiction work from someone who has just started writing and wants help mastering structure.

If that were on my plate, I'd be blogging instead, too.

Oz
21st-Sep-2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Hey, but they're good and a pleasure to read. . . . The hard part, of course, is providing an intelligent critique. But for some of the writers, it's not so hard. The screenwriter just wants to know if the script makes sense so far, since he worries that his style is a little minimalistic. My critique: fast-paced, lean, and effective. No time wasted.

There, that's one down.
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