My writing group has been trying a new thing – workshopping complete novels. We have five people in the group, all of whom have written or are writing a novel, and it just seemed like the best way to do it. We tried it the traditional way, with people turning in chapters, alternating turns, but too much time went by between installments. The author was spending most of the meeting refreshing the memory of the others as to what happened in chapters before.
We are on our second book, now, and I have to say, I love this method! This method is way better. It is so much more helpful to have someone read your book all the way through and make general comments than to analyze in-depth what a character says, say, in Chapter 16. Plus, we meet for dinner, now. We drink wine. We make the meeting a celebration for the author who finished the book. And the books have been great! I’ve enjoyed both of them immensely.
What do you think about our new method? I’d love to hear what other writing groups do about the problem of workshopping novels.