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 for one of a limited number of waivers.) And keep an eye out for new groups forming in late July/early August!

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.

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

Questions? Need support? Email

Children’s Book Writing Groups

NEW! 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)

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

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! Creative Nonfiction

Group Leader: Kate O.
Location: Arlington VA

“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

Open to working writers, focusing on biography and history.

Fiction Writing Groups


Group Leader: April T.
Location: Washington, DC

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.

NEW! Short Stories

Group Leader: Charles P.
Location: DC

This will be a small gathering of committed writers, dedicated to their craft. The group will attend regularly scheduled meetings (usually once weekly) in which they read their works in progress and solicit comments from other group members.

NEW! Fiction, Novel-length Editing

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

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:

These are the “hardcore” rules used by that group. We can come up with our own:

Fiction, All Forms

Group Leader: Alexandra R.
Location: DC

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.


Group Leader: Susan T.
Location: Online

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.


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

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

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

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

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


Group Leader: Kim K.
Location: Alexandria, VA

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.


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

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.


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

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

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

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

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!