CRITIQUING KNOWHOW Writing group types - which one are you?

Image of child with hands over eyes and a question mark beside him

In a special one-off post, Tracy Darnton gets us thinking about the archetypes of writing groups.  We might not be snooping like the Scooby Gang or slaying vamps like Buffy, but writing groups also need their stock characters.  So, which one are you?

I’ve been in a few writing groups across recent years. Currently I’m in a group of four core writers with a couple of occasional extras. My group has been so helpful supporting me through the process of my first novel – The Truth About Lies – and through the general ups and downs of normal life too. They tell me the truth about my writing – and then feed me tea and cake when I can’t take the truth. But it strikes me that there are a few types in writing groups – which one are you? 

The Organiser 

If you don’t have one of these in your group, you are doomed. In another life they’d be commanding a regiment or running a major corporation but luckily for you their sole goal in life now is to make sure your group meets regularly and that you all exchange work on time. 

The Tech-Whizz 

You definitely need a one-person IT department to answer all your stupid questions. They’d already set up a website and started blogging when you were still using a pen and notepad. Now they rattle off how to pin a Tweet or set up a story on Instagram and stare at you open- mouthed as you admit you don’t back up your documents. 

Close up of people's hands at pads and keyboards around a table
Writing groups - which one are you?
Photo: PXhere

The Baker

There’s always one who is able to rustle up a quick carrot cake and choc chip cookies while you’re still contemplating changing out of your pyjamas. This person is crucial to the morale of the group. 

The Good-Starter 

They are brilliant at writing first chapters which you are very jealous of indeed. You get excited about reading the next instalment but then they switch to something else and you never get to find out what happened. 

The Disorganised One 

This one is always late or gets the wrong day or prints off the wrong bit of paper or hasn’t had time to look at anyone else’s work because the boiler broke and they locked themselves out of the house but they’re sure they wrote something on a scrap of paper on the train or maybe the back of a sandwich packet and they’re sure it’s in their bag somewhere if you just give them a minute to find it or is it in their coat pocket which they left at their mum’s. You might think this is annoying but remember their purpose in the group is to make the rest of you feel good about yourselves. 

So which type are you? And who did I miss out?

This post was first published on The Cliché Bookworm blog as part of the blog tour for The Truth About Lies.

Header image: Maxpixel


Tracy Darnton’s YA thriller The Truth About Lies was published by Stripes in July 2018. She has an MA in Writing for Young People. You can follow her on Twitter @TracyDarnton 

Helen Liston is KnowHow editor. If you have any ideas about what you'd like to read about here, send them to

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