I’ve always been interested in supporting fellow writers and fans of science fiction and fantasy. We are, after all, involved in a rather small category of fiction, so we have to stick together. I think that’s one reason so many of us attend genre conventions. It’s fun and rewarding to associate with others who appreciate the same things we do.

But when I first began writing science fiction, I had no one to help or support me, to give me advice or critcism, whether positive or negative. It wasn’t until many years later, when I’d started writing Book 2 of my Tartarus Trilogy, that I finally joined a writing group at a local library. Let me tell you, that was an eye-opening experience! But it wasn’t terribly helpful as far as improving my writing went.

I did learn several important things, however: 1)  Writers hate negative criticism, even when it’s meant to be helpful, and will seldom accept it. 2)  I wrote much better and far more professionally than the rest of my group—no bragging intended. 3)  Prejudice against sci-fi and fantasy was alive and well!

Perhaps in a future blog I’ll discuss some of the reasons for the existence of this prejudice, which remains even today. Anyway, should you be tempted to join a writers’ group, be darn careful. Make sure the person running it has the credentials to do so; and make sure it doesn’t become a mutual admiration society. Try to find a group that appreciates and welcomes whatever genre you’re writing, and good luck!