The Writer’s Center is excited to sponsor more than a dozen writing groups for our members! Not a member? It’s just $60/year; you can join here. (If that fee presents a hardship, please send a brief statement of need to info@writer.org for one of a limited number of waivers.)

To get started, choose the group that interests you from the list below and email the group leader. That’s all there is to it; you can join or leave any time.

Please remember that our group leaders are volunteers. Although all have been trained and provided with resources to get started, we need everyone’s patience, flexibility, and respect to build and sustain all our writing groups. And please bear in mind that, despite best efforts, groups don’t always work out, even with patience, flexibility, and respect. As always, our Code of Conduct applies to all participants.

Here’s a great short piece on what goes into forming an awesome group.

Questions? Need support? Email writinggroups@writer.org.

Children’s Book Writing Groups

Picture Books, Chapter Books, and Middle Grade

Group Leader: Lamont and Erika H.
Location: Zoom then post-quarantine at Solid State Bookstore (H Street Corridor)

ChapBooksDC@gmail.com

This will be a small (5-7 people) self-editing group that offers feedback on chapter books, picture books and middle grade manuscripts (fiction or nonfiction). Looking for authors who have fully drafted manuscripts. Meetings will be held twice a month. There will also be opportunities to develop and share pitches as well as queries.

Children’s Picture Books

Group Leader: Nevin M.
Location: Silver Spring/Bethesda, MD

ChildrensPictureBooksSS@gmail.com

Open to serious children’s picture book writers only (no chapter book writers, YA novelists, etc., please). Meetings will be online during the lockdown, but I aim to start in-person meetings in the Silver Spring/Bethesda area once that is over

Creative Nonfiction Writing Groups

NEW! Lyric & Personal Essays

Group Leader: Kathy R.
Online

CNFLyricOnline@gmail.com

As a group, we will explore and share lyric, personal, and memoir essays’ unique subjectivity. Study the works of familiar lyrical and personal essayists such as David Sedaris, Joan Didion, and Annie Dillard, to name a few. Often writers will find that their writings in narrative journalism, flash nonfiction, short stories, and formal essay topics will generate compelling, intimate essays. Through poetic conventions and prose’s singular principles, we will guide each other in discovering our personal essayist voice and offer constructive criticism, accountability, and thought-provoking discussions. The group will meet strictly online in either video and or email format.

Creative Nonfiction

Group Leader: Kate O.
Location: Arlington VA

CNFArlington@gmail.com

“Postcards from the Pandemic”

This group is intended for writers who want to document the peculiar time in which we live. We will use the structure of a postcard because postcards demand that one be brief and economical with one’s words. They also invite us to think about who we want to write to–allowing us to inhabit various voices. Whether we are writing from a grocery store in which there is a scarcity of toilet paper or we are writing from inside our houses in a fearful emotional state, we are documenting our lived experience in a way that allows us as writers to process it.

Creative Nonfiction

Group Leader: Tara M.
Location: DC

CreativeNonfictionDC@gmail.com

Open to working writers, focusing on biography and history.

Fiction Writing Groups

NEW! Literary Fiction

Group Leader: Alyssa K.
North Arlington

FictionNorArlington@gmail.com

Calling all intermediate literary fiction writers! If you write literary fiction of any length and want a safe space to stay accountable to your craft and grow as a writer, this is the group for you. At each meeting we’ll workshop one or two pieces from members. We’ll meet twice a month via zoom on a weekday at 7:30 PM. Eventually we’ll meet in person when everyone feels safe to do so.

NEW! Novel

Group Leader: Anne M.
Online

NovelsOnline1@gmail.com

This group will hold asynchronous workshops twice per month. We will workshop chapters from drafts of members’ novels. You will need to feel comfortable using google docs.

NEW! Popular Fiction for intermediate/advanced writers

Group Leader: Richard S.
Location: Online

popfictionworkshop@gmail.com

This group welcomes intermediate/advanced writers of non-speculative (i.e., no sci fi, fantasy, or horror) narrative fiction, who want to explore popular adult fiction genres (e.g., thrillers, suspense, historical, new adult, mystery/crime, literary, and adult romance). Our goal: employ literary writing techniques to develop complex characters, tell compelling stories, and hone craft in a fun, supportive, and non-judgmental environment. Bi-weekly meeting time TBD.

Thrillers

Group Leader: April T.
Location: Washington, DC

This group is not currently accepting new members.

This critique group is for writers actively working on a novel or related work in the genre of thriller/suspense/mystery. All levels welcome. Eventually would love to hold meetings in person in DC.

Fiction, Novel-length Editing

Group Leader: Krista A.
Location: Zoom then post-quarantine at The Writer’s Center (Bethesda)

This group is not currently accepting new members.

A self-editing group for novelists (fiction not memoir) focused on big picture change and structural integrity using the “”Story Grid: What Good Editors Know”” by Shawn Coyne as the guiding methodology. Please familiarize yourself with Story Grid before deciding to join and come with a working knowledge of the method. A small group (6 to 8 max) so we can look at larger chunks of manuscript. A 3-paragraph synopsis of your novel should be submitted to the group ahead of time. You can read more about this approach at this link:  https://storygrid.com/writing-groups/

These are the “hardcore” rules used by that group. We can come up with our own: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i4mPl9gD3ioz7lcSj1KW-tnC3mkNTvR_8Mn722eH4a8/edit

Fiction, All Forms

Group Leader: Alexandra R.
Location: DC

FictionDC@gmail.com

This Fiction critique group is open to all levels of fiction writers in various genres (Literary, Mystery, Sci-Fi, etc.) and formats (Novels, Novellas, Short Stories etc.). This is a great opportunity to give and get constructive feedback with other local writers. Hopefully, we can soon meet in person in either the Capitol Hill and/or West End areas of DC.

Fiction

Group Leader: Susan T.
Location: Online

This group is not currently accepting new members.

A group of writers serious about their craft, working on short or long fiction. Members should be collegial, gentle, but discerning readers of others’ work.

Fiction

Group Leader: Julie C.
Location: Rockville, MD

This group is not currently accepting new members.

For writers who have a complete or nearly complete manuscript. This fast-paced group will focus on polishing manuscripts to prepare them for submission to agents. We’ll meet twice a month at Rockville Memorial Library or, if necessary, via an online meeting platform (e.g., Zoom, Google Hangouts).

Science Fiction/Fantasy

Group Leader: Shari G.
Location: Silver Spring, MD

This group is not currently accepting new members.

For writers working on a science fiction, fantasy or future dystopia novel or short stories. Members should be collegial, supportive, and be willing to share their work. We will meet virtually for now (e.g. Zoom) and then in Downtown Silver Spring. An interest in supporting each other on social media as our work evolves a plus, but not required.

Fiction, Short Stories & Non-Fiction

Group Leaders: Bob M. and Cathy R.
Location: Prince George’s County, MD

LiteraryShortStories@gmail.com

This critique group is open to all levels of writers of short fiction and non-fiction. We will focus mainly on “literary” genres, but writers of other genres are welcome. Plan is to meet twice per month online, with future in-person meetings in the Annapolis area. Submissions for group critique can be either complete works or “works in progress”. The emphasis will be on providing positive and constructive comments and encouragement, and improving one’s own writing through reading and discussing the works of other fellow writers. This group will meet on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.

Flash Writing Groups

NEW! Flash Creative Nonfiction

Group Leader: Tara C.
Location: Online

FlashCNFOnline@gmail.com

Flash creative nonfiction in 1,000 words or less. Group meetings feature a quick prompt warm-up then participants (8 max) read a piece of flash cnf for immediate feedback focusing on what each writer does well and any questions work made readers ask (as in what were they confused about or what would they want to know more about). It’s a challenge to make every word count. Biweekly meetings, day/time TBD.

Flash Prose

Group Leader: Oxana H.
Location: Online

This group is not currently accepting new members.

This Flash Prose group encourages its members to write, share and publish short (between 50 and 1000 words) stories and essays. Conscious listening and feedback make this group an invaluable resource for writers of all levels. The group will meet online every other week.

Humor Writing Groups

Humor, All Genres

Group Leader: Jana E.
Location: Bethesda, MD

This group is not currently accepting new members. 

This group is open to all genres. Bring your WIPs, your draft essays, blog posts, whatever you’re working on. Highbrow, lowbrow, unibrow, as long as it’s funny, we want to read it. We’ll hold virtual meetings until we’re able to once again intermingle and share our germs without fear, at which point, we’ll meet at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda.

Mixed Genre Writing Groups

NEW! Nature and Natural History

Group Leader: Joel C.
Location: Rockville/North Bethesda

NatureRockville@gmail.com

Writers – come and entice us with your wanderings or rememberances, whether it be of one species, or one majestic vista, the Grand Canyon. But make it specific, perhaps, even journeys in nature taken during the COVID months.We will share and critique one another’s stories, helping them to come alive in our group’s supportive atmosphere. All genres of nature writing are welcome, from the scientific to the poetic. Please keep the focus specific, to help in the review and discussion. Don’t hesitate to touch on key issues such as biodiversity and conservation, if it is fits in your special place. Feel free to submit something already done, or specially written for this occasion. Time and date to be determined.

NEW! Poetry and Prose

Group Leader: Vanessa S.
Location: Centreville, VA

PoetryProseVA@gmail.com

Beginner writers, let’s figure this out together!

This group is aimed at emerging writers in just about any genre who want a supportive group to keep the creative process going. We’ll share work and get honest feedback on our pieces. Together, we’ll add a measure of accountability to work output. We’ll create a space to seek specific answers to those weird questions about plot, form, or what it all means anyway. Let’s constructively help each other become better writers. Biweekly meetings.

NEW! Poetry and Prose

Group Leader: YS O.
Location: Online

PoetryProseBethesda@gmail.com

Let’s uncover or discover our erotic power as women! We welcome women readers/writers (up to 12) who are turned on and tuned in to themes of love, intimacy, and erotic relationships. Please come with your spoken word, poetry, short stories and creative non-fiction to be shared. We will meet twice a month online (Saturdays, 2:00pm-4:00pm) to share minds, hearts and souls and receive constructive feedback from each other in an open, supportive environment as we explore our sensual sides through women’s writing.

Mixed Genre

Group Leader: Heather C.
Location: Rockville, MD

This group is not currently accepting new members.

This mixed-form, mixed-genre group is designed for writers serious about craft. Ideally, members view offering and receiving feedback as an invaluable part of their writing process. Supportive, workshop-style critique will be offered through an on-line meeting platform, such as Zoom, and in person, eventually. Meetings will be held once per month.

Mixed Genre

Group Leaders: Sorrah ET and Eva S.
Location: Silver Spring/Takoma Park MD

MixedGenreSilverSpringTakoma@gmail.com

Mixed genre (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, in-between things that are hard to find a home for) critique group based in Takoma Park / Silver Spring in the future, online for now.

Poetry Writing Groups

Poetry

Group Leader: Kim K.
Location: Alexandria, VA

PoetryAlexandria06@gmail.com

This group is open to all levels of poets, with an emphasis on free verse, as well mixed-genre. non-fiction poetry, prose poetry, and contemporary free-form haiku. A great opportunity to give and receive feedback from other local writers.

Poetry

Group Leaders: JC W. and Raegan O.
Location: Bethesda, MD

PoetryBethesda@gmail.com

This group is open to poets of all levels. It will meet online initially and subsequently in Bethesda, MD. The primary focus will be on regular workshopping of participant poetry. This group is co-led and will meet either weekday evenings or weekend days at least once a month, possibly twice per month based on participant feedback.

Poetry

Group Leaders: Marcia E. and Melanie W.
Location: Silver Spring, MD

This group is not currently accepting new members.

This group is open to poets of all levels, from novices to published. All types of poetry are welcome, from free verse to specific genres, and prose poems. Most welcome are those who write through a contemplative lens. We will start online, but then will meet somewhere in Silver Spring.

Reading Groups

Caribbean Female Writers Reading Group

Group Leader: Wendy M.
Location: Online

KaribeWrites@gmail.com

This reading group will focus on the literary works by Caribbean female writers of the 20th and 21st centuries. These writers will represent the many different islands and cultures of the anglophone, hispanophone and francophone Caribbean. All the works will be in English in order to facilitate reading and comprehension. We will discuss the historical and cultural contexts of the writings, as well as the literary aspects and the corresponding literary theories that can be applied to the writings. We aim to fuse the cultural with the theoretical in our analysis and interpretations of the works. The reading selection will include writers such as Danticat, Kincaid, Nunez and many more writers. Our meetings will be held once per month for one hour online.

Novel Reading Group

Group Leader: Debra G.
Location: Bethesda, MD

ReadingGroupBethesda@gmail.com

A reading group for writers. John Gardner write that good writers read widely and deeply and books worth reading. This group will read old and new critically acclaimed novels. The group will discuss each book from the perspective of the craft. Character development, tension and conflict, dialogue, rhythm, voice, etc.; all topics to be considered. Group is limited to 10 people, will meet from 1:30 to 3 pm on the first Thursday of each month. First meeting will be held via Zoom, with the hope that once it is safe, we can meet in person in Bethesda.

Generative Writing Groups

Writing Together

Group Leader: Ingrid A.
Location: Arlington, VA

LetsWriteArlington@gmail.com

Let’s Write! Join fellow Writer’s Center writers for 90 minutes of uninterrupted writing. We will check in with each other for 15 minutes at the beginning and end of each session to share successes and challenges. Check-ins will be virtual during the pandemic; post-pandemic we will meet in Arlington and write together, Wednesdays from 3:00-5:00 ET.

Young Adult Writing Groups

Young Adult

Group Leader: Viviana A.
Location: Online

YoungAdultFictionOnline@gmail.com

YA is mixed genre celebrating coming of age stories. Open to all levels! Looking for monthly/bimonthly exchange of any flash, short story, novella, or novel (1000-5000 words) for constructive feedback. Ideally meet “in person” via web (Zoom or Google Hangouts) once a month for camaraderie and volunteer focus sessions. Asynchronous feedback expected within two weeks of posting (Google Docs). Leader personally interested in speculative fiction, people of color stories, and universal human interest/overcoming adversity but supportive and surprisingly learns from all genres!