Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Writing Groups Part I: Introducing the Inklings II

Writing is a solitary profession. Apart from your characters, it’s just you and your computer. It’s no surprise then that writers so often form writing groups. One of the main appeals of a writing group is to simply have other like-minded people to commiserate with (“Guh, I received another rejection letter…,” “The agent told me I’m a talentless hack...,” “I accidentally drank an entire handle of spiced rum while working on chapter 3, and then spent next couple of hours on the toilet…,” etc., etc.). More importantly though, writing groups offer up an invaluable luxury to writers: a captive, literate audience to read the early drafts of stories and provide feedback.

I’m lucky enough to be part of two great writing groups, Inklings II and The Biscuits. Inklings II is my spec-fiction writing group. We’re an odd group in that we are spread out all of the world and workshop our fiction primarily online. We can only manage to all be in the same place at the same time once every two or three years (and then spend more time barbecuing and drinking beer than actually talking shop, but that’s neither here nor there). We’re still a highly effective group. So much so, that members Ahimsa Kerp, Craig Comer, and I managed to write The Roads to Baldairn Motte together. More recently, The Inklings II were instrumental in helping me beat Dreamwielder into readable shape.

Our name, of course, comes from the Inklings, the renowned Oxford writing group that boasts Tolkien and C.S. Lewis as past members. Our name choice was more of an homage than anything, and to prove that we don’t take ourselves so seriously as to be considered in the same breath as those fantasy greats, we have a rotating subtitle that gets chosen by whoever has most recently sold a story, usually something vapid and silly like Inklings II: Electric Boogaloo, or Inklings II: Frank Dune Buggies, or Inklings II: What’s Another Name for Pirate Treasure? We feel we might have possibly outgrown this rotating name and are debating on a new permanent name, but for the time being, we’re still Inklings II. But enough of my blabbing. Without further ado, here are the illustrious members…

Ahimsa Kerp prefers his spec fic-with a dash of historical flavor. His screenplays have placed well in competitions, his travel writing  has been sold to places like BootsnAll and the Matador Network, and  his short fiction has appeared in the Cthulurotica Anthology, Third Flatiron’s Beginning Anthology, and Interstellar Fiction, amongst other places. He is currently looking for a home for his first novel and plotting/plodding on his second. You can follow his writing adventures at

Craig Comer writes about the disenchanted and the dismal, the heroes hidden under the rocks who are spat upon by those in shining armor wielding gleaming swords. Beggars, farmers, and urchins rule his pulp adventures, which span from the Immortal City of Kuthahaar, past the ruins at Baldairn Motte, and to the Highlands of Scotland. “Aelfie of Glen Coe” (Nevermet Press) began the tale that is continued in, The Fey Matter, a novel Craig is currently working on. It features murder, corruption, and haggis, with prejudice played for political gain, and airships aplenty. You can find out more about Craig’s writing at his website:

Corey Beasom writes things. Mostly they're made up things. Sometimes the things he makes up are historical, sometimes they're speculative. Sometimes the historical and speculative things get all mixed together, like chocolate and peanut butter; when that happens, things can start to get weird. Sometimes he writes things on his own, like books (right now it's a historical one, that's almost done) and stories (this one's speculative), but other times he's the lead writer for a video game called Legends of Etherell: Antavia. Whenever Corey's not writing things, he's reading things, or head banging, or keeping his house from falling down, or wondering why his teams don't win more games. He's pretty much always in Los Angeles. Online, he's at

The quick answer to what kind of stuff Eric Tryon writes is, "short stories where nothing much happens." And while not a zinger of sales pitch, another way to describe it could be that he writes character-driven stories where (hopefully) very real people deal with very real situations. Raymond Carver (a Tryon influence) expressed the uniqueness of strong writers in very simple terms. He said - "The World According to Garp, is, of course, the marvelous world according to John Irving" (another Tryon influence). Carver went on to explain that "every great or even every very good writer makes the world over according to his own specifications." So maybe that's what Tryon writes: the world according to Eric Scot Tryon. Tryon has published a dozen or so short stories in literary journals and anthologies, including Glimmer Train, Willow Springs, Wisconsin Review, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Rio Grande Review, Eureka Literary Magazine, and others. Currently, he is working on his first novel, by which, he means he is finishing one last short story and then he swears, it's only the novel from here on out. He's been saying this for quite some time now.

All these guys are great writers. I highly recommend you check out there stuff. Next week we'll get Part II and meet The Biscuits.

-Garrett Calcaterra

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