Saturday, 12 May 2012

What Do You Call A Group of Writers? - Lynne Garner

I used to be a lone writer, tapping away on my computer knowing there were others out there like me but was unsure how to make contact. That all changed a few years ago when I attended a course taught by Julie Sykes, who introduced my to The Scattered Authors Society. Joining has been one of the best moves I've made in my writing career. Since then I have also become a member of The Picture Book Den and Authors Electric.

A few of the members of the SAS enjoying afternoon tea on our Winter Retreat 2011
Recently I was talking to a non-writing friend who asked me "So what do you call a group of writers?" I was stumped, so did a little research and found some great names for groups of people including:
  •  A 'drunkship' of cobblers
  • A 'hastiness' of cooks
  • And a 'stalk' of foresters

(Apparently these appeared in a list of 'proper terms' in the Book of St Albans attributed to Dame Juliana Barnes - 1486)

I also discovered a few (I assume) tongue in cheek modern group names including:
  •  A 'doddering' of senior citizens
  • A 'nattering' of elderly ladies
  • And a 'trust fund' of peace marchers

Yet I was unable to find a definitive name for a group of writers. I did find suggestions including a scribble, a sentence, a pen, a composition and a story. Yet for me a group of writers is a support system, an inspiration, a springboard, a font of knowledge and a joy to be a member of - none of these as catchy as the previous I know. From each of the groups I gain more than I could have hoped for. 

For example The Picture Book Den is a group of ten picture book writers which was set up in December 2011. We often ask each other questions and put out requests for advice. We also swap manuscripts once a month and critique each others work. This not only allows us to improve our writing but also learn from one another.

Another example is the group of 28 authors who make up Authors Electric. Last month a member suggested we celebrate World Book Night and William Shakespeare's birthday by hosting our own give-away of eBooks. Between us we managed to spread the word far and wide. We more than doubled the hit rate to our blog in one day and introduced our books to a huge worldwide audience. As a group we support each other by using social media to spread the word about our books, classes we run as individuals etc. and also share our experiences. 

So for me a group of authors is more than a term. However it's driving me crazy not knowing the 'correct' term. So if anyone knows what you call a group of writers please put this writer out of her misery. 

Lynne Garner

Now a blatant plug for my latest collection of African stories retold available as an eBook - Anansi Trickier Than Ever

If you have children please feel free to download my free activity sheets that go with this book and my other: Anansi - The Trickster Spider

Download by clicking on these links: set one and set two.


Stroppy Author said...

Er, it *is* in the Book St Albans - 'A worship of writeris', page 85 of the OUP facsimile, 1975

Lynne Garner said...

Is it? Fab - thanks for solving that mystery for me. I haven't seen a copy of the Book of St Albans have only found mention of it.

Stroppy Author said...

I did part of my PhD on it :-)

Unknown said...

What a great idea, having activity sheets to download, and pleased the groups you have joined are such a support.

Susan Price said...

As another member of both the SAS and Authors Electric, I can say that Lynne gives as much back as she gets! She is A-E's Tweet Deck Queen, and, as such, largely responsible for our big rise in hits. And she looks after poorly hedgehogs too!
But a worship of writers? Not these days, surely.
A network of writers? A chat of writers? A buzz of writers?

CallyPhillips said...

I settled with a 'chapter' of writers though it sounds a bit like a Hell's Angel group!
BTW. for FREE download for World Fair Trade Day!

DodgyCon said...

a collective.

madwippitt said...

Would a singular author be a type of writer?

Katherine Roberts said...

If there is a worship of writers, I haven't been invited to join that select group yet! I like the sound of "scribble" but it makes us sound very messy. How about a "scatter of authors"? That would fit the Scattered Authors

And the electric variety, of course, could be a "shock"...?

Schez said...

I've been following An Awfully Big Blog Adventure for only a couple of weeks now and it's fab!

I read your post today and it got me thinking.
I know that another reader has helped you out with the correct term, but I quite like the idea of a "well" of writers, such as an ink well, or a well of inspiration and ideas.

Anyhoo, I am an aspiring picture book writer (I still don't know if I can use the title "writer" as I am not yet published...)and I just wanted to say thank you for some useful links within your post.

I have had some positive feedback from the last agent I sent my work to, but no offer yet.
Writing can feel very solitary so it's nice to know about some of the groups that are about - thanks for some direction!

A very useful post!

catdownunder said...

Or, perhaps, "a wordship" of writers Stroppy? After all, spelling varied back then! :-)

Stroppy Author said...

Nice idea, Catdownunder!

Unknown said...

The word that jumped into my head was a scribble of writers, but I'm making it up. There's always someone who got there first ;)