Friday, August 22, 2014

A Writing Community

The Writers' Loft

In the mid-50s, French director Fran├žois Truffaut wrote an essay that became the foundation for the auteur theory of filmmaking.  As defined by the Wikipedia:
"In film criticism, auteur theory holds that a director's film reflects the director's personal creative vision, as if they were the primary "auteur" (the French word for "author"). In spite of—and sometimes even because of—the production of the film as part of an industrial process, the auteur's creative voice is distinct enough to shine through studio interference and the collective process."
Even as a film studies major I felt there were problems with this theory.  Sure films by specific, strong directors had a certain feel to them (Hitchcock, Hawkes, Ford, etc.) but no filmmaker was in charge of the entire process.  From the screenwriter, the producer, the casting director, the cinematographer, lighting director, and the editor, film is a truly collaborative medium.

In those days I thought that the only art form where the auteur theory would apply to storytelling was writing.

I have, of course, come to believe that even that thinking is wrong as well.  While The Book is still, stubbornly, my vision and my creation, it has been a work that has been dependent upon the input and contributions of others to grow and thrive.  For me, writing has become something of a community process.

An important part of my community is The Writers' Loft, a physical and online place for writers to meet, exchange ideas, and write.  I've met several people online through The Writers' Loft who have helped me with The Book and whom I hope I have returned the favor with crits on their works.

Members of The Writers' Loft are invited to join by writer and Writers' Loft founder, Heather Kelly.  This has helped to keep the membership focused on serious, supportive writers who are looking to hone their craft and help others do the same.

When I first heard Heather was putting together this idea I wondered how the heck she had the time and resources to make such a thing happen.  Between a husband, two kids, her work as Volunteer Coordinator for NESCBWI, and her own writing, developing and opening a spot for writers to work and meet sounded, well, more than a bit crazy.

And yet she did it.

The Writers' Loft now has over 100 members and hosts regular discussion groups for writers as well as workshops and classes for writers in the physical location in Shelborn, MA.  That's quite an accomplishment for just over a year's worth of work.

Wondering how she did it all?  Heather has posted a blog entry about this part of her writer's journey over at the Writers' Rumpus blog.

Well done, Heather.  Well done, indeed.

-- Tom