Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Are You A Word Weaver?

My guest today is Cindy Huff, president of the Aurora, Illinois Chapter of Word Weavers. I asked her to share a bit about the organization. So here's Cindy!

Thank you Becky for asking me to come and share about something I am very passionate about. I love to encourage writers and the one area I can’t emphasize enough is critiquing. For some this becomes a fellow-writer that you click with and help each other. For some it’s a group.

I want to share with you about a wonderful group you might want to check out in your search for way to improve your writing. Word Weavers has been in existence for almost two decades. It started in Orlando, Florida and spread around the state. In recent years it has expanded across the nation and into Canada. With its online groups, it is available internationally.

Word Weavers has a specific format for the pages you share in critique groups.
  1. Each individual brings six copies of a piece they want critiques. You will never receive more than six individual critiques. Larger groups are divided into groups of 4-6 because the two hour meeting time is strictly adhered too. Frankly, more than six commenters makes your head spin.
  2. Maximum word count is 1500. This allows everyone in the group time to be critiqued and doesn’t become too tedious. The goal is to give you helpful input to apply to your whole manuscript as you work on it.
  3. Samples must be double-spaced, Times New Roman. This is the industry standard and gets writers in the habit of formatting professionally.  Double spacing makes it easier to add edits to the page.
  4.  Line numbers are added making it easier to refer to problem sentences during the oral critique.

Word Weavers has a winning formula for critiquing.

The person on my left reads my piece out loud while everyone follows along. Hearing my words read out loud helps me catch things I overlooked. Everyone is making notes and marking their copies.  There is a few minutes after the reading for everyone to finish their notes. Then the person to my right begins the critique. The sandwich method is always used.  First positive comments are made, then areas that need work are mentioned ending with a positive comment.  I am not permitted to speak during my critique unless I am asked a direct question. I have found from experience arguing a point or explaining myself closes me off to hearing what is being suggested. Critiquing is subjective and not everything that is suggested I will apply to my work. That is fine. Arguing and wasting time over points can be counter-productive.  Usually there is someone in the group to help keep everyone on task

Who would benefit from Word Weavers?

Whether you are a novice or a pro, you can benefit from Word Weavers. You don’t have to be published to give valuable input to others. Everyone’s opinions are respected.  Word Weavers is open to writers of fiction, non-fiction, scripts, poems, children’s stories. We have critiqued book proposals and book summaries. The focus is helping Christian writers get published by helping them hone their craft.

Each meeting usually has the first 20 minutes or so dedicated to praise reports on publications, sharing of great writing tools others may be using. Some groups have a time or worship. Highlights from writer’s conference, leads on publisher’s submission needs.  Writing craft books may be shared. 

The Christian element means no erotica or graphic scenes will be critiqued. We respect all denominations and have had non-Christian members as long as they respect the guidelines.

Growing to better serve members.

Word Weavers is now affiliated with BelieversTrust in an effort to add online writing classes, webinars and coaching to their toolbox.
Another great tool is Accountability Partners. Those who want someone to hold them accountable for reaching their goals or additional feedback on their writing can request an accountability partner. The two work together to determine how they can help each other reach their goals.

You can get all the details regarding groups in your area, membership benefits and the organization at

Cindy Huff is a multi-published writer. Her debut novel is with editors. She has appeared in Christian Communicator, Splickety Prime, and a variety of other periodicals. Her flash fiction Work will appear in Splickety Publishing Groups’ upcoming anthology. She has been a Bible teacher, speaker and drama coach both in the US and the Philippines. She is president of the Aurora Illinois chapter of Word Weavers. When she isn’t writing Cindy cares for her elderly parents and enjoys her six grandchildren. She and her husband Charles make their home in Aurora, Illinois. You can check out her blog. or visit her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @CindyErvinHuff.


  1. Thanks for asking me to share about this great organization. We love helping writers achieve their goals.

    1. My pleasure, Cindy. Critique groups can turn you from a novice to a novelist!

  2. I have been a member of Word Weavers in three different states. I value their method of critique so much that when I moved to the Charlotte area, I agreed to launch a local chapter. Cindy, you did a great job of describing the organization. Thank you, Rebecca, for inviting her to share.

    1. So glad you dropped in. And glad to hear you are active in the group. Critique groups are powerful for aspiring writers.


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