Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel July 21, 2012 - 8:27am

I'm beginning the work on setting up Towson Universities English Club. Apparently every year people talk about setting one up, but no one ever wants to take charge and make it happen. I am going to make it happen. I've been given the go-ahead by the department head.

I'm using the LitReactor model as a go-by. I'm thinking of making it a three tiered club having separate nights for creative writing (writers workshop), guest speaker (online classes), and a dulce et utile* session (craft essay & community). The creative writing and dulce et utile sessions will be once a week and the guest speaker will be twice a month.

I just need some advice on how to proceed and what I should be focusing towards. Off-campus activities, if any, how involved should the club be in the English department, dues/fees, community involvement, etc. Anything that worked or didn't work for you in the past. Any bits of advice are most welcome.

And yes, I will be shamelessly promoting that people sign up for LitReactor.



*Sweet and useful-group will be a general discussion of all things English in order to springboard our knowledge base in a fun way.

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig July 22, 2012 - 5:42pm

I don't have much to give you in the way of advice, because I have only been a part of two organizations like this--one was an utter failure due to lack of motivation from the members, and the other was outside of school and only did the writing critique portion.

But I'm bumpin' for you in case anyone has any insight.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel July 22, 2012 - 10:08pm

Mahalo for the bump.

GaryP's picture
GaryP from Denver is reading a bit of this and that July 23, 2012 - 4:39am

I think your three-tiered approach sounds good.

We used to have a poetry workshop use our bookshop for their space. They met twice a month. The first meeting was a teaching session in which one of the members "learned" something prior and then brought information about it, along with writing prompts. For example, one workshop might just talk about the senses, and adding that to their writing. With prose, you can touch upon characters, themes, senses, grammar, plot, storytelling, dialogue, and even the business side: software to use, how to submit to agents/publications, query letters.

The second session (two weeks later) was a workshop. Members would read their work and then receive comments.

Jose F. Diaz's picture
Jose F. Diaz from Boston is reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel July 24, 2012 - 9:02pm

Thanks GaryP. I appreciate the insight.

Utah's picture
Utah from Fort Worth, TX is reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry July 25, 2012 - 6:06am

Yes, I will be happy to be your guest speaker.  Just PM me and I'll give you the address to send the plane ticket.  Please ensure the girl we discussed is waiting for me in the room.

Diaz, dude, I have no advice for you, but I did want to say that it's fuckin cool that you're doing what you're doing.  Props.

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer July 25, 2012 - 8:26am

I recommend a website. Have assignments of some sort and allow people to submit stories written from those assignments. Then post them to the website. I am part of a writer's group that splintered off into a website on writing. We write short stories once a month (generally flash fiction) to be published on the site. We also plan on publishing an anthology of member stories at some point.

We've been going for over six months and we've only had one person drop off out of the entire group. I think having that concrete "My name and my story are here on this site," helps give people a sort of immediate reward.

That might be where dues and fees come in. If you can collect dues and fees to fund a professional looking website and possibly a yearly journal of contributions, it will make it feel like you are accomplishing something solid. Not to mention, people can use it as a credit.

This also allows for community involvement because you can potentially build a readership that people can use a base for their careers away from the group.